Could EEG and eye tracking pair up for autism diagnosis?
We’ve reported on several different research studies investigating the potential use of eye tracking in early intervention for children with autism. Recent research at Boston Children’s Hospital is suggesting that there may be another biometric technology that could possibly be used for autism diagnosis—EEG.
According to the study, which was published in the Journal of BMC Medicine, children with autism exhibited reduced connectivity in certain regions of the brain. In fact, the patterns were so distinctly different from the control group that the brain activity of children 2-12 years old with autism was able to be clearly distinguished from that of normal children. There is still much research to be done before EEG is used for clinical diagnosis, but it could potentially be used to confirm diagnosis made by a specialist. It could also be used to determine if intervention techniques are working by monitoring whether the connections are forming in the specific regions of the brain which have shown to be affected by autism.
One of factors that makes this study unique is that the researchers were able to get test results from children with classic signs of autism. Children who exhibit common behavioral symptoms, such as communication challenges, compulsive and impulsive behavior, and trouble engaging with people, are typically difficult to get to cooperate during study procedures. Many studies of this nature are conducted on adults with mild symptoms or high-functioning autism.
Perhaps with what we’ve seen about the potential application of eye tracking for autism diagnosis, as well as what we’ve learned about biometrics being more insightful when used in combination, there may be a way for eye tracking and EEG to work together for this purpose. There are many research questions to be answered before a viable solution is declared, but early detection with biometric methods could permit early behavioral intervention which may help these brain connections develop to mitigate functional impairment.
For more details in this story, take a look at EEGs May Someday Be Able To Diagnose Autism.
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