Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Micromovements hold hidden information about severity of autism, researchers report

03.12.2013
Movements so minute they cannot be detected by the human eye are being analyzed by researchers to diagnose autism spectrum disorder and determine its severity in children and young adults, according to research presented at the 2013 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in November.

The research is the work of Jorge V. José, Ph.D., vice president of research at Indiana University, and Elizabeth Torres, Ph.D., the principal investigator for the study and an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University. They are building on earlier findings involving the random nature of movements of people with autism. The work was presented in a poster by biophysics and neuroscience Ph.D. graduate student Di Wu, who works in Dr. José’s lab.

Earlier research looked at the speed maximum and randomness of movement during a computer exercise that involved tracking the motions of youths with autism when touching an image on the screen to indicate a decision. That research was reported in July in the Nature journal Frontiers of Neuroscience.

In the new study, the researchers looked at the entire movement involved in raising and extending a hand to touch a computer screen. The device they use can record 240 frames per second, which allows them to measure speed changes in the millisecond range.

“We looked at the curve going up and the curve going down and studied the micromovements,” said Dr. José, who also is the James H. Rudy Distinguished Professor of Physics in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences and a professor of cellular and integrative physiology at the IU School of Medicine.

“When a person reaches for an object, the speed trajectory is not one smooth curve; it has some irregular random movements we call ‘jitter,’" he said. "We looked at the properties of those very small fluctuations and identified patterns.” Those patterns or signatures also identify the degree of the severity of the person’s autism spectrum disorder, he said

“Often in movement research, such fluctuations are considered a nuisance," Dr. José said. "People averaged them away over repeated movements, but we decided instead to analyze the movements on a smaller time scale and found they hold lots of information to help diagnose the continuum of autism spectrum disorder.

“Looking at the speed versus time curves of the motion in much more detail, we noticed that in general many smaller oscillations or fluctuations occur even when the hand is resting in the lap. We decided to carefully study that jitter. Our remarkable finding is that the fluctuations in this jitter are not just random fluctuations, but they do correspond to unique characteristics of the degree of autism each child has.”

Wu said the more detailed information allows subtyping autism spectrum disorder, Asperger’s and identify typically developing individuals much better than what had been done before in terms of the global distribution of movements.

The next step is to compare the output of the new methodology in individuals with autism of idiopathic origins with those with autism of known etiology. The new refinement may help advance research in autism spectrum disorder to develop treatments tailored to the individual's needs and capabilities. A collaborative effort with the Torres lab at Rutgers is underway.

Mary Hardin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.iu.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

Im Focus: A transistor of graphene nanoribbons

Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."

Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making fuel out of thick air

08.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Rules for superconductivity mirrored in 'excitonic insulator'

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

Smartphone case offers blood glucose monitoring on the go

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>