Introduction: Early diagnosis in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is crucial to maximise early intervention efforts aimed at stabilising the degenerative process. Given neurodegeneration begins well before the manifestation of behavioural symptoms, we need more sensitive diagnostic tools to aid in early detection. Eye-movement tasks may provide such a tool as they offer a precise and non-invasive measure of cognitive functioning. Therefore the current research sought to determine if eye-movement tasks could provide an early diagnostic tool for AD.
Methods: We administered an antisaccade and occulomotor capture eye-movement tasks along with a standardised neuropsychological assessment (Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status; RBANS) for adults over 48yrs (M=62.48, SD=9.20) with (n=63) and without (n=6) a diagnosis of AD.
Results: Participants with AD made significantly more errors on the antisaccade (t(64)=-4.99,pConclusion: Given that those with poorer performance on tests of cognitive functioning made more errors, and the higher rates of errors demonstrated by those with AD, eye-movement tasks may provide an early diagnostic tool for AD. Augmenting eye-movement tasks with standard optometrist assessments may provide a valuable means of early diagnosis.
Smith, B, Bowling, A, Zhou, S & Yoxall, J 2014, 'Eye movement tasks as a measure of cognitive functioning in ageing and Alzheimer's disease', Proceedings of the 24th Annual meeting of the Australasian Society for Psychophysiology, Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbour, NSW, 26-28 November, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Switzerland.