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Specific Aspects of Eye Movement Reactions as Markers of Cognitive Control Disorders in Patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (Review)

Specific Aspects of Eye Movement Reactions as Markers of Cognitive Control Disorders in Patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (Review)

Khayrullina G.M., Moiseeva V.V., Martynova O.V.
Key words: obsessive-compulsive disorder; cognitive control; selective attention; inhibitory control; working memory; eye movements; oculography; eye tracking.
2022, volume 14, issue 2, page 80.

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Multiple studies in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) became the basis for revealing selective attention, inhibitory control, and working memory impairments, which correlates with an imbalance in the activity of the cortico-striatal-thalamic-cortical circuit associated with maintenance of cognitive control functions. Patients with OCD often demonstrate changes in the parameters of target-oriented eye movement reactions being a consequence of a possible impairment of the cognitive control neurophysiological framework. This review summarizes and analyzes data on cognitive control disorders in OCD obtained with eye movement recording techniques.

It was established that the most often used are smooth pursuit eye movements tasks, memory-guided saccades, and anti-saccadic tasks. Data on smooth pursuit eye movements tasks and memory-guided saccades are contradictory, although they partially confirm selective attention and working memory impairment. Most studies on the anti-saccadic task identified impaired inhibitory control in patients with OCD. Similar disorders in form of increased latency and higher error rate in anti-saccades were also noted in the patients’ first-degree relatives, which allows considering such disorders as manifestations of the endophenotype associated with the underlying risk of OCD. Future confirmation of these results in experiments using complex anti-saccadic tasks with images of various modalities (taking into account the increased anxiety in patients with OCD as the disorder basis) might contribute to validation of the OCD-specific markers.

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