Eye Tracker Exam Shown to Detect Alzheimer’s in Early Stages of Disease
According to an article from online technology magazine, Gizmag, researchers believe they have discovered a way to detect the early stages of Alzheimer’s through an eye tracking exam. The results of the exam are believed to give insight into the brain’s ability to store and remember the spatial positioning of objects in an environment.
Researchers performed the eye tracking test on 79 people: 19 Alzheimer’s patients, 25 Parkinson’s patients, 17 elderly patients, and 18 healthy young people. Participants were asked to follow the movement of a light on a monitor and occasionally look away. The results of an eye tracker exam are dependent upon the data picked up by the retina recorder, which measures a patient’s gaze position as well as how quickly the focus is corrected to the original position.
Dr. Trevor Crawford, of the department of Psychology and the Centre for Aging Research at Lancaster University, said, “This study takes this work forward…we found strong evidence that the difficulty in noticing and correcting the errors was probably caused by a problem in the memory networks of the brain that allow us to store the spatial position of objects in the environment.” Researchers reported that the test results for Alzheimer’s patients showed a clear correlation with impaired memory capability. Their hope is that this test will improve the process of diagnosing the disease in its early stages without the use of complex neuropsychological tests.
Researchers reported turning their attention toward studying eye movement because it’s less taxing on Alzheimer’s patients. By using an eye tracker exam to measure the brain’s capabilities for attention and memory, researchers expect to be able to detect a potential discrepancy in the brain’s memory network in the early stages of the disease.
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