Researchers at Duke University develop software to identfy behavioural markers of autism in infants

Washingto,US – Researchers at Duke University have developed a new software that can help to identify behavioural markers of autism in infants. (Updated May 28, 2014)

The software tracks and records infants’ activity during autism screening tests that are recorded. Traditional tests have their drawbacks, explains the study’s release:

“In all of the tests, the person administering them isn’t just controlling the stimulus, he or she is also counting how long it takes for the child to react—an imprecise science at best. The new program allows testers to forget about taking measurements while also providing more accuracy, recording reaction times down to tenths of a second.”

Jordan Hashemi, a graduate student in computer and electrical engineering at Duke University said that they are not trying to replace the experts, he continued to add:

“We’re trying to transfer the knowledge of the relatively few autism experts available into classrooms and homes across the country.

“We want to give people tools they don’t currently have, because research has shown that early intervention can greatly impact the severity of the symptoms common in autism spectrum disorders,”

The study focused on three behavioural tests that can help identify autism in very young children.

The new programme allows testers to no longer worry about taking measurements as reaction times are recorded to tenths of a second.

Amy Esler, an assistant professor of pediatrics and autism researcher at the University of Minnesota said:

“The software has the potential to automatically analyse a child’s eye gaze, walking patterns or motor behaviours for signs that are distinct from typical development,”

Sources the The Economic Times and Smithsonia.com .