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Research Lecture Series Dr. Arash Yazdanbakhsh Presents on Oculomotor Function in Parkinson’s Disease

Please join Dr. Arash Yazdanbakhsh, Boston University, for a presentation entitled “Involuntary Saccades and Binocular Coordination During Visual Pursuit in Parkinson’s Disease.” The lecture will take place on February 21, 2017 as part of the Research Lecture Series. All are welcome to attend. COPE approval will not be awarded.

Please join us for a wine and cheese reception in Conference Room 1 following the lecture.

Abstract:  Prior studies of oculomotor function in Parkinson’s disease (PD) have either focused on saccades while smooth pursuit eye movements were not involved, or tested smooth pursuit without considering the effect of any involuntary saccades. The present study investigated whether these involuntary saccades could serve as a useful biomarker for PD.  Ten observers with PD participated in the study along with 10 age-matched normal control (NC) and 10 young control participants (YC). Observers fixated on a central cross while a disk (target) moved toward it from either side of the screen. Once the target reached the fixation cross, observers began to pursue the moving target until the target reached to the other side.  To vary the difficulty of fixation and pursuit, the moving target was presented on a blank or moving background. The moving background consisted of uniformly distributed dots moved in either the same or the opposite direction of the target once the target reached the central fixation cross. To investigate binocular coordination, each background condition was presented under a binocular condition, in which both eyes saw the same stimulus, and under a dichoptic condition, in which one eye saw only the target and the other eye only saw the background. The results showed that in both background conditions, observers with PD made more involuntary saccades than NC and YC during both fixation and pursuit periods while YC and NC showed no difference. Moreover, the difference between left and right eye positions increased over time during the pursuit period for PD group but not for the other two groups. This suggests that individuals with PD may be impaired not only in saccade inhibition, but also in binocular coordination during pursuit.