Eye Movement and Schizophrenia


Finally, a subjective diagnostic test for a mental illness!

According to a recent study at McGill University in Montreal, impaired reading fluency can be an indicator of schizophrenia.  The study compared the eye movements of 20 schizophrenic patients to those of 16 non-affected subjects.  The results showed that schizophrenic people generate smaller eye movements, read more slowly and spend more time processing words than their non-schizophrenic counterparts.

While eye movements alone do not provide a definitive diagnosis, they can be considered along with family history and other risk factors to draw more accurate conclusions.

If schizophrenia–which has always been viewed as a psychological disorder–can affect eye movement (a neurological function), would it not be considered a neurological disorder?  Other significant physiological differences, such as reduced temporal lobe and frontal cortex volume, have already been documented in schizophrenia patients.  Hopefully this finding will open the door to other biology-based diagnostic methods for schizophrenia and other mental health disorders.

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