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 Researchers simplify tiny structures' construction drip by drip
12.11.2018 | Princeton University, Engineering School

nachricht Mandibular movement monitoring may help improve oral sleep apnea devices
06.11.2018 | Elsevier

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: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>