Clinical challenges and the ageing brain

Chair(s): Ulrich Ettinger (Bonn), Christoph Klein (Freiburg)

Presenter(s): Rebekka Schröder (Bonn), Mark Greenlee (Regensburg), Annabell Coors (Bonn), Daniela Canu (Freiburg), Chrystalina Antoniades (Oxford, UK)

The oculomotor system provides a rich microcosm for the study of perception, cognition and motor control. In this symposium, we will provide a state-of-the-art overview of the neural and genetic correlates of eye movements as well as their disorders in psychiatric and neurological disorders. Rebekka Schröder (Psychology/Bonn) will present fMRI data of the neural networks underlying smooth pursuit eye movements in healthy volunteers. Functional connectivity analysis shows that key oculomotor areas display widespread, but only partly overlapping patterns of connectivity. Mark Greenlee (Psychology/Regensburg) will report on fMRI studies investigating the neural correlates of visually-guided and memory-guided saccades. Comparisons of BOLD response between these types of paradigms will be made. Annabell Coors (DZNE/Bonn) will present molecular genetic data on oculomotor endophenotypes for schizophrenia. In N=3000 adults, higher polygenic risk scores for schizophrenia were associated with higher antisaccade error rate, latency and smooth pursuit velocity gain, but lower antisaccade amplitude gain. Daniela Canu (Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Freiburg) will talk about microsaccade and saccade generation in neurodevelopmental disorders, including early-onset schizophrenia, autism and ADHD. Results suggest the presence of inhibition deficits across clinical groups, suggesting common (pre-)frontal functional impairments. Finally, Chrystalina Antoniades (Clinical Neurosciences/Oxford) will present data from a movement disorders cohort including Parkinson’s disease and progressive supranuclear palsy (N=1400) to illustrate how eye movement parameters have proven a useful translational tool in aiding clinical diagnosis and following disease progression. Overall, this symposium will combine multiple methodological approaches to shed light on human oculomotor control as well as its alterations in disease.