Monday April 22, 2019

Study: iPhone App Effective for Screening Toddlers With Autism

An app-based approach can reach into underserved areas better and make it much easier to track an individual child's changes over time

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Study: iPhone App Effective for Screening Toddlers With Autism
Study: iPhone App Effective for Screening Toddlers With Autism. Pixabay

An iPhone app has shown to be effective and easy to use for screening young children with signs of autism, paving the way to broader, easier access to screening other neurodevelopmental disorders, according to researchers.

The “Autism & Beyond” app first administers caregiver consent forms and survey questions and then uses the phone’s “selfie” camera to collect videos of young children’s reactions while they watch movies designed to elicit autism risk behaviours, such as patterns of emotion and attention, on the device’s screen.

The videos of the child’s reactions are sent to the study’s servers, where automatic behavioural coding software tracks the movement of video landmarks on the child’s face and quantifies the child’s emotions and attention.

For example, in response to a short movie of bubbles floating across the screen, the video coding algorithm looks for movements of the face that would indicate joy.

An app-based approach can reach into underserved areas better and make it much easier to track an individual child’s changes over time, said Guillermo Sapiro, professor at Duke University in North Carolina.

Representational image.
Representational image. (IANS)

The app, described in journal npj Digital Medicine, can analyse emotional reactions in children as young as 18 months and without having to see a specialist in person, allowing for earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Current screening for autism in young children is done in clinical settings, rather than the child’s natural environment, and highly trained people are needed to both administer the test and analyse the results.

But, “this technology has the potential to transform how we screen and monitor children’s development”, Sapiro said.

Also Read: Apple Approves Telegram App Update

For the study, 1,756 families with children aged from one to six years participated.

Parents completed 5,618 surveys and uploaded 4,441 videos.

Usable data were collected on 88 per cent of the uploaded videos, demonstrating for the first time the feasibility of this type of tool for observing and coding behaviour in natural environments. (IANS)

Next Story

Scientists Claim, Absence Of KDM5 Protein in Flies Causes Autism

The study, published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe, showed without the function of KDM5, the flies' intestinal mucosal barriers were damaged and their intestinal flora was imbalanced. 

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autism
"Many people with autism also have a serious intestinal illness, like diarrhea and irritable-bowel syndrome. It is consistent with our findings," Liu said. Pixabay

 Chinese scientists have discovered that absence of a certain protein in flies causes intestinal flora imbalance and makes them show symptoms similar to autism in humans.

The team, led by Professor Liu Xingyin of Nanjing Medical University in China, said the discovery could lead to a new theoretical path of treating autism based on digestion and immune activities, the Xinhua reported.

Xingyin said the KDM5-deficient drosophila melanogaster, or vinegar flies, kept their distance from one another, were slow to respond and had reduced direct contact with other flies.

autism
Former studies about autism usually focused on genetics,” he said. “We are looking forward to opening a new road for human autism therapy from the perspective of human digestion and the immune system,” Liu said. Pixabay

“All of these phenomena are similar to the communication disorders of people with autism,” Liu said.

The study, published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe, showed without the function of KDM5, the flies’ intestinal mucosal barriers were damaged and their intestinal flora was imbalanced.

autism
The team, led by Professor Liu Xingyin of Nanjing Medical University in China, said the discovery could lead to a new theoretical path of treating autism based on digestion and immune activities, the Xinhua reported. Pixabay

“Many people with autism also have a serious intestinal illness, like diarrhea and irritable-bowel syndrome. It is consistent with our findings,” Liu said.

Also Read:High Level Of Insulin in Infants May Rise Chances Of Brain Damage
Further research also discovered that using antibiotics or feeding lactobacillus plantarum could improve social behaviour as well as the lifespan of some KDM5-deficient flies.

“Former studies about autism usually focused on genetics,” he said. “We are looking forward to opening a new road for human autism therapy from the perspective of human digestion and the immune system,” Liu said. (IANS)