Electroretinography could provide for early detection of autism spectrum disorder among children

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New research released in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders may provide a way to detect autism among children using just an eye scan.

The eye scan, conducted by a research team at Flinders University, works by spotting patterns of electrical signals in the retina among those with autism spectrum disorder, utilizing a hand-held device.

In nearly 180 participants, both with the neurodevelopmental condition and without, researchers initiated Light-adapted (LA) electroretinograms (ERGs) to identify any changes in brain development correlated with the condition. All participants were based in the US and the UK.

“LA-ERGs were produced by a random series of nine different Troland based, full-field flash strengths and the ISCEV standard flash at 2/s on a 30 cd m−2 white background,” researchers stated.

“The test is a quick, non-intrusive eye-scan using a hand-held device and we anticipate it will be equally effective on younger children. Very early diagnosis means not only can children receive important interventions, but families are empowered to get the necessary supports in place, come to terms with the diagnosis, and make informed decisions.”

In their findings, researchers found LA-ERGs strengthened their understanding into neural developmental in autism spectrum disorder when assessing retinal neurophysiology.

The results could pave the way for a quick, non-intrusive eye scan to detect and diagnose autism and even other conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, years before previously thought possible.

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