A simple reading task using 120 single-digit numbers can be used as a screening tool in the clinical setting to assess functional ocular motor difficulties in Parkinson disease (PD) that can have a profound impact on quality of life, a recent study found. Researchers assessed saccadic reading using variations of the King-Devick (KD) test, a rapid, single-digit, number naming test, as a way to assess the ability to make serial left-to-right ocular motor movements necessary for reading. They recruited 42 treated PD patients and 80 age-matched controls and compared their reading times with a variety of measures. They found:
- PD patients read about 20% slower than controls on all tests, and both groups read irregularly spaced numbers slower than regularly spaced numbers.
- Having lines between numbers to guide reading did not impact reading time in both PD and controls.
- Saccadic reading is slower in PD, but controls and PD patients are both impacted by visuospatial planning challenges posed by increased visual crowding and irregularity of number spacing.
Jehangir N, Yu CY, Song J, et al. Slower saccadic reading in Parkinson’s disease. [Published online ahead of print January 24, 2018]. PLoS One. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0191005.
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