Visual exploration behaviour during clock reading in Alzheimer's disease

Brain. 2004 Feb;127(Pt 2):431-8. doi: 10.1093/brain/awh051. Epub 2003 Dec 22.


Eye movement behaviour during visual exploration of 24 patients with probable Alzheimer's disease and 24 age-matched controls was compared in a clock reading task. Controls were found to focus exploration on distinct areas at the end of each clock hand. The sum of these two areas of highest fixation density was defined as the informative region of interest (ROI). In Alzheimer's disease patients, visual exploration was less focused, with fewer fixations inside the ROI, and the time until the first fixation was inside the ROI was significantly delayed. Changes of fixation distribution correlated significantly with the ability to read the clock correctly, but did not correlate with dementia severity. In Alzheimer's disease patients, fixations were longer and saccade amplitudes were smaller. The altered visual exploration in Alzheimer's disease might be related to parietal dysfunction or to an imbalance between a degraded occipito-parietal and relatively preserved occipito-temporal visual network.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Exploratory Behavior*
  • Eye Movements*
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Reaction Time
  • Saccades