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The Potential of Naturalistic Eye Movement tasks in the Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease: A Review

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Article number1503
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/11/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Brain Sciences
Issue number11
Number of pages67
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Extensive research has demonstrated that eye tracking tasks can effectively indicate cognitive impairment. For example, lab-based eye tracking tasks such as the antisaccade task, have robustly distinguished between people with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and healthy older adults. Due to neurodegeneration associated with AD, people with AD often display extended saccade latencies and increased error rates on eye tracking tasks. Although the effectiveness of using eye tracking to identify cognitive impairment appears promising, research considering the utility of eye tracking during naturalistic tasks, such as reading, in identifying cognitive impairment is limited. The current review identified 39 articles assessing eyetracking distinctions between people with AD, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and healthy controls when completing naturalistic task (reading, real-life simulations, static image search) or goal-directed task involving naturalistic stimuli. Results revealed that naturalistic tasks show promising biomarkers and distinctions between healthy older adults and AD participants, and therefore show potential to be used for diagnostic and monitoring purposes. However, only twelve articles included MCI participants and assessed the sensitivity of measures to detect cognitive impairment in preclinical stages. In addition, the review revealed inconsistencies within the literature particularly when assessing reading tasks. We urge researchers to expand on the current literature in this area and strive to assess the robustness and sensitivity of eye tracking measures in both AD and MCI populations on naturalistic tasks.