Thursday June 21, 2018

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

0
//
19
Study: iPhone App Effective for Screening Toddlers With Autism
Study: iPhone App Effective for Screening Toddlers With Autism. Pixabay
Republish
Reprint

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)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2018 NewsGram

Next Story

Prenatal Fish Consumption NOT Linked to Autism Risk in Babies

The researchers also found poor social cognition if mothers ate no fish at all, especially for baby girls

0
Prenatal Fish Consumption NOT Linked to Autism Risk in Babies
Prenatal Fish Consumption NOT Linked to Autism Risk in Babies. Pixabay

Instead of increasing risk of autism, eating fish twice a week during pregnancy may actually give newborns several nutritional benefits, suggests a new research.

The findings — published in journal Molecular Autism — found no evidence to support claims that mercury in fish is linked to the development of autism or autistic traits in newborns.

“All species of fish contain traces of mercury, which can harm brain development, but we have found that the health benefits of fish, probably from nutrients such as vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and iodine, outweigh the risks from mercury,” said co-author Caroline Taylor from the University of Bristol in Britain.

For the study, the researchers examined the assumption that mercury exposure during pregnancy is a major cause of autism, using evidence from nearly 4,500 women.

They analysed blood samples, reported fish consumption and gathered information on autism and autistic traits from one of the largest longitudinal studies to date.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

The researchers also found poor social cognition if mothers ate no fish at all, especially for baby girls.

“Our findings further endorse the safety of eating fish during pregnancy. Importantly, we’ve found no evidence at all to support claims that mercury is involved in the development of autism or autistic traits,” said lead author Jean Golding, Professor at the University of Bristol.

Also Read: Gene Responsible For Autism Identified

“This adds to a body of work that endorses eating of fish during pregnancy for a good nutritional start to life with at least two fish meals a week,” Golding noted. (IANS)