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Int J Neurosci. 1995;80(1-4):117-51.

Comparison of the smooth eye tracking disorder of schizophrenics with that of nonhuman primates with specific brain lesions.

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Section of Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8001, USA.


The smooth pursuit eye tracking deficit (ETD) often associated with schizophrenia has generated enormous interest over the last 20 years. The deficit is observed in about 80% of schizophrenics and in half of their first degree relatives. It is not affected by neuroleptic medication and is not due to inattention. A review of 52 studies (and actual records when available) on ETD in schizophrenia reveals that the deficit can consistently be described as low gain pursuit augmented with catch-up saccades and often peppered with intrusive saccades. A review of the brain areas that have been shown to be involved in pursuit provides the necessary background for the subsequent section which details the nature of the smooth tracking deficits following experimental lesions. This section reveals that the ETD following lesions of the frontal lobe is unique in that it closely resembles the ETD of schizophrenics. This finding lends further support for frontal lobe theories of schizophrenia.

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