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August 1989

Saccadic Distractibility in Schizophrenic Patients With Tardive Dyskinesia

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry Maryland Psychiatric Research Center PO Box 21247 University of Maryland Baltimore, MD 21228

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1989;46(8):755-756. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1989.01810080085012

To the Editor.—  Abnormalities in smooth-pursuit eye movements (SPEMs) in schizophrenic patients and their unaffected family members are well recognized.1 This SPEM abnormality is thought to be independent of age, sex, and concurrent neuroleptic treatment, but may be partially accounted for by the presence of moderate to severe orofacial tardive dyskinesia (TD).1,2The underlying mechanism of this SPEM abnormality is not clear. Recently, it has been suggested that the abnormality may not be of the pursuit system at all but secondary to the lack of normal inhibition of the saccadic system during smooth pursuit. In this model, saccadic intrusions are thought to superpose themselves on the SPEMs, thereby producing the abnormal tracking.1 Saccadic intrusions can also be seen in schizophrenic patients during fixation on a steady target.1 Moreover, in experimental paradigms evaluating the control of saccadic eye movements, we recently observed that compared with normal controls,

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