A new tool could help doctors identify a certain sub group of people with Autism spectrum disorders (ASD), suggests a study. This novel test involves measuring rapid eye movements that in turn could indicate any deficits in a particular area of the brain that is essential for social and emotional development.
The research conducted at the University of Rochester Medical Centre suggested that eye movement could be used to understand certain areas of the brain that play a role in a number of neurological and developmental disorders, such as Autism.
In a series of experiments, the researchers tracked the eye movements of individuals with ASD. The participants were asked to track a visual target that appeared in different locations on the screen.
The experiment was designed in a manner that often caused the participant’s focus to “overshoot” the intended target. In healthy individuals, the brain would correctly adjust eye movements as the task is repeated.
However, the eye movements of individuals with ASD continued to miss the target suggesting that the sensory motor controls in the cerebellum responsible for eye movement were impaired.
ASD is characterised by a wide range of symptoms that can vary in severity from person to person. This unpredictability not only presents a challenge for diagnosis but also how best to devise a course of treatment. Novel tests are needed to help the doctors in establishing an early and correct diagnosis.
Source:. European Journal of Neuroscience