Eye Movement Differs By Population, Not Only Disease

Scientists are always striving to establish objective ways of identifying mental health disorders. Tests of eye movement have been used around the world to help identify people with brain injuries and diseases like schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis, but a new study shows that these “abnormal” eye movement patterns may actually be relatively common in some populations.

The study compared eye movement test results of British and Chinese people, and found a striking difference. Dr. Paul Knox, of the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, sums up the results: "In our study, as we expected, 97% of British people had the common fifth of a second delay, and only 3% had the much faster response. In our Chinese group, however, 30% had the faster, less common response. Our participants were healthy, with normal vision, and yet the eye movement pattern previously thought to be rare, was relatively common in Chinese people.”

The reason for the difference is not known, although a follow-up study is being conducted that aims to shed light on the situation. As Dr. Knox notes, the maps of brain structure currently in use were based largely on European brains, and it is possible that there are differences in brain function or structure between populations. It could also simply come down to cultural differences that influence biological responses like eye movement. What is clear, regardless, is that the pattern of eye movement that signals altered brain function in European individuals may not apply to the global population.

Read more: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20110325/Study-finds-eye-movement-diffe...

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