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Studying Everyday Eye Movements Could Aid In Diagnosis Of Neurological Disorders

Researchers at the University of Southern California have devised a method for detecting certain neurological disorders through the study of eye movements. In a study published today in the Journal of Neurology, researchers claim that because Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Parkinson's Disease each involve ocular control and attention dysfunctions, they can be easily identified through an evaluation of how patients move their eyes while they watch television. "Natural attention and eye movement behavior – like a drop of saliva – contains a biometric signature of an individual and her/his state of brain function or dysfunction," the article states. "Such individual signatures, and especially potential biomarkers of particular neurological disorders which they may contain, however, have not yet been successfully decoded." Typical methods of detection — clinical evaluation, structured behavioral tasks and neuroimaging — are costly, labor-intensive and limited by a patient's ability to understand and comply with instructions. To solve this problem, doctoral student Po-He Tseng and Professor Laurent Itti of the Department of Computer Science at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, along with collaborators at Queen's University in Canada, have devised a new screening method.

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