Introduction: Eye movement patterns during reading are well defined and documented. Each eye movement ends up in a fixation point, which allows the brain to process the incoming information and program the following saccade. In this work, we investigated whether eye movement alterations during a reading task might be already present in middle-aged, cognitively normal offspring of late-onset Alzheimer's disease (O-LOAD).
Methods: 18 O-LOAD and 18 age-matched healthy individuals with no family history of LOAD participated in the study. Participants were seated in front of a 20-inch LCD monitor, and single sentences were presented on it. Eye movements were recorded with an eye tracker with a sampling rate of 1000 Hz.
Results: Analysis of eye movements during reading revealed that O-LOAD displayed more fixations, shorter saccades, and shorter fixation durations than controls.
Conclusion: The present study shows that O-LOAD experienced alterations in their eye movements during reading. O-LOAD eye movement behavior could be considered an initial sign of oculomotor impairment. Hence, the evaluation of eye movement during reading might be a useful tool for monitoring well-defined cognitive resources.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; O-LOAD; Offspring of late-onset; cognitive impairments; oculomotor behavior; reading performance.
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