Children with autism show slower pupil responses, study finds

November 10, 2009,
The computerized binocular infrared pulillography device produces a movie and other data that demonstrate how the eye's pupil reacts to a flash of light. Credit: University of Missouri

Autism affects 1 in 150 children today, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. Despite its widespread effect, autism is not well understood and there are no objective medical tests to diagnose it. Recently, University of Missouri researchers have developed a pupil response test that is 92.5 percent accurate in separating children with autism from those with typical development. In the study, MU scientists found that children with autism have slower pupil responses to light change.

"No comprehensive study has been conducted previously to evaluate the pupils' responses to light change, or PLR, in with ," said Gang Yao, associate professor of biological engineering in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the College of Engineering. "In this study, we used a short light stimulus to induce pupil light reflexes in children under both dark and bright conditions. We found that children with autism showed significant differences in several PLR parameters compared to those with typical development."

In the study, scientists used a computerized binocular infrared device, which eye doctors normally use for vision tests, to measure how pupils react to a 100-millisecond flash light. A pupil reaction test reveals potential neurological disorders in areas of the that autism might affect. The results showed that pupils of children diagnosed with autism were significantly slower to respond than those of a control group.

"There are several potential mechanisms currently under study," Yao said. "If these results are successfully validated in a larger population, PLR response might be developed into a biomarker that could have clinical implications in early screening for risks of autism. Studies have shown that early intervention will improve these children's developmental outcome."

Source: University of Missouri-Columbia (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study predicts 2018 flu vaccine will have 20 percent efficacy

April 19, 2018
A Rice University study predicts that this fall's flu vaccine—a new H3N2 formulation for the first time since 2015—will likely have the same reduced efficacy against the dominant circulating strain of influenza A as the ...

Zika presents hot spots in brains of chicken embryos

April 19, 2018
Zika prefers certain "hot spots" in the brains of chicken embryos, offering insight into how brain development is affected by the virus.

Low-cost anti-hookworm drug boosts female farmers' physical fitness

April 19, 2018
Impoverished female farm workers infected with intestinal parasites known as hookworms saw significant improvements in physical fitness when they were treated with a low-cost deworming drug. The benefits were seen even in ...

Super-superbug clones invade Gulf States

April 18, 2018
A new wave of highly antibiotic resistant superbugs has been found in the Middle East Gulf States, discovered by University of Queensland researchers.

Of mice and disease: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria discovered in NYC house mice

April 17, 2018
A study by scientists at the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health finds New York City house mice carry bacteria responsible for mild to life-threatening gastroenteritis ...

Discovery explains how the chickenpox and shingles virus remains dormant

April 16, 2018
A research team led by UCL and Erasmus University has found a missing piece to the puzzle of why the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles can remain dormant for decades in human cells.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.