• Conflicting findings regarding the prevalence of abnormal smooth-pursuit eye movements in patients with major affective disorders call into question the specificity of impaired smooth-pursuit eye movements to schizophrenia. We report that pursuit is impaired in 88% of lithium carbonate—treated affective disorder patients whose pursuit was normal prior to receiving this drug. Over half of lithium carbonate—treated affective disorder patients in remission also showed impairment of smooth-pursuit eye movements. In conjunction with recent prevalence data on family members of psychiatric patients, the findings support the specificity of abnormal pursuit as a biological trait associated with schizophrenia, but not with the major affective disorders. The mechanisms by which lithium carbonate impairs pursuit are discussed.
Levy DL, Dorus E, Shaughnessy R, et al. Pharmacologic Evidence for Specificity of Pursuit Dysfunction to Schizophrenia: Lithium Carbonate Associated With Abnormal Pursuit. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1985;42(4):335–341. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1985.01790270021002
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