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Keywords:

  • biological marker;
  • clinical symptoms of schizophrenia;
  • exploratory eye movement;
  • heterogeneity;
  • schizophrenia

Aim:  Many psychophysiological tests have been widely researched in the search for a biological marker of schizophrenia. The exploratory eye movement (EEM) test involves the monitoring of eye movements while subjects freely view geometric figures. Suzuki et al. (2009) performed discriminant analysis between schizophrenia and non-schizophrenia subjects using EEM test data; consequently, clinically diagnosed schizophrenia patients were identified as having schizophrenia with high probability (73.3%). The aim of the present study was to investigate the characteristics of schizophrenia patients who were identified as having schizophrenia on EEM discriminant analysis (SPDSE) or schizophrenia patients who were identified as not having schizophrenia on EEM discriminant analysis (SPDNSE).

Methods:  The data for the 251 schizophrenia subjects used in the previous discriminant-analytic study were analyzed, and the demographic or symptomatic characteristics of SPDSE and SPDNSE were investigated. As for the symptomatic features, a factor analysis of the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) rating from the schizophrenia subjects was carried out.

Results:  Five factors were found for schizophrenia symptoms: excitement/hostility; negative symptoms; depression/anxiety; positive symptoms; and disorganization. SPDSE had significantly higher factor scores for excitement/hostility, negative symptoms and disorganization than SPDNSE. Furthermore, the BPRS total score for the SPDSE was significantly higher than that for the SPDNSE.

Conclusion:  SPDSE may be a disease subtype of schizophrenia with severe symptoms related to excitement/hostility, negative symptoms and disorganization, and EEM parameters may detect this subtype. Therefore, the EEM test may be one of the contributors to the simplification of the heterogeneity of schizophrenia.