Japanese Researchers Develop Autism Detection System For Infants

Researchers in Japan have developed a new system that detects autism in infants using small fluctuations in eye movement.

AsianScientist (Apr. 1, 2013) – Researchers in Japan have developed a system that detects autism in infants using small fluctuations in eye movement.

As many as one in every 88 children born in the United States is predicted to have some degree of autism. The current average age of diagnosis for autism is 4.5 years, which is past the age where behavioral therapy would be of the greatest benefit.

A recent NIH study has shown that small fluctuations in eye movement, as small as 25-50 milliseconds, is a symptom of autism in infants as young as seven months.

Unlike previous technologies for eye-tracking that required minimal head movement and a calibration stage requiring a patient to look at multiple points, the Autism Eye Gaze Detection System, invented by Professor Yoshinobu Ebisawa at Shizuoka University in Japan, requires only a one-point calibration measurement.

Here, the system observes the movements of the infant’s eyes as he or she focuses on an image of the mother’s eyes or mouth. By using cameras and infra-red light sources to track movement of the infant’s pupils, the system can estimate the likelihood of autism.

With the support of IP Shakti, LLC, an early-stage seed fund for biomedical and life science innovations, Ebisawa and Shizuoka University are planning to commercialize the Autism Eye Gaze Detection System for autism detection in young infants.

“Autism is not well understood, so it has not been detected very efficiently. Today millions of kids are affected by the disease, but unfortunately, we have not been able to bring a simple solution to the market. Most of the gene based detection systems have only provided a partial solution. IP Shakti is committed to the simple yet elegant detection system based on the behavioral aspects of autism,” said Dr. Dipanjan Nag, President & CEO of IP Shakti.


Source: IP Shakti, LLC; Photo: sean dreilinger/Flickr/CC.
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