Neurology Central

What do we know about eye movements in Alzheimer’s disease? The past 37 years and future directions

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The goal of this Biomarkers in Medicine Editorial is to exhaustively describe our current knowledge of eye movements in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the field of neurology. To achieve this goal, 97 publications from the MedLine® database were examined as a result of crossed ‘Alzheimer disease’ and ‘eye movements’ subheadings. I discarded 12 review articles (for recent and complete panoramas see [1,2]) and 12 other articles, which were insufficiently relevant to the subject (due to weak bibliometric indexing). Seven further articles were also dismissed as they focused on atypical subsets of AD (such as amnestic or not mild cognitive impairment, Balint syndrome, posterior cerebral atrophy). This literature restriction led to a set of 66 relevant publications (our 100% standard). It is noteworthy that 64 and 2 publications respectively concerned presumed (97.0%) and confirmed (3.0%) AD, giving us the measure of the progress to be made. Among the articles in presumed AD, 27 studies (40.9%) were performed in the field of oculomotor research, that is, eye movements were analyzed per se in order to determine eye movement indicators of AD presence or severity. In the remaining 37 studies (56.1%), eye movements were used to explore the different cognitive functions that may be impaired in AD from low-level vision to social cognition. I will present the results in AD as compared to healthy participants (throughout the text), before suggesting future directions for basic and clinical research and summarizing our knowledge of eye movement and cognitive markers of AD diagnosis and prognosis.
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