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Smooth pursuit and saccadic abnormalities in first-episode schizophrenia.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date05/1998
JournalPsychological Medicine
Number of pages8
Original languageEnglish


Background. Previous studies of oculomotor dysfunction in schizophrenia have tended to concentrate on abnormalities of smooth pursuit eye tracking in chronic medicated patients. We report the results of a study of smooth pursuit, re¯exive and antisaccade performance in drug naive and antipsychotic treated ®rst-episode schizophrenic patients. Methods. Smooth pursuit and saccadic eye movements were recorded in 36 ®rst-episode schizophrenic patients and 36 controls matched for age and estimated IQ. The schizophrenic patients were divided into drug-naive (N¯17) and antipsychotic treated groups (N¯19). Results. Smooth pursuit velocity gain was signi®cantly lower than controls only in the drug-naive patients. The treated patients did not differ signi®cantly from either the controls or the untreated group. In an antisaccade paradigm both treated and drug-naive schizophrenic patients demonstrated an increased number of errors, but only drug-naive patients also demonstrated an increased latency in initiating correct antisaccades. Conclusions. These impairments are unlikely to be due to a generalized de®cit in oculomotor function in the schizophrenic groups, as there were no differences between the groups in saccadic metrics on a re¯exive saccade task. The results show that both smooth pursuit and saccadic abnormalities are present at the onset of schizophrenia and are integral to the disorder.

Bibliographic note

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=PSM The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Psychological Medicine, 28 (3), pp 685-692 1998, © 1998 Cambridge University Press.