Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pupil-light response as a screening test for autism

A Science Daily article says
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.
 If you can get a 92.5% accuracy rate by flashing a light in the eyes, that would make a wonderful first screening tool for autism, because it might show before other symptoms appear, so parents could get an early start on treatment (or on feeling sorry for themselves, depending on the parents).

One thing we'd have to find out is when this pupil response begins. If it begins in infancy, even better.


  1. “Since the implementation of the "Back to Sleep" campaign, therapists are seeing increasing numbers of kindergarten-aged children who are unable to hold a pencil.”
    Susan Syron, Pediatric Physical Therapist

    “There are indications of a rapidly growing population of infants who show developmental abnormalities as a result of prolonged exposure to the supine position.”
    Dr. Ralph Pelligra regarding the impact of the Back to Sleep Campaign

    As it turns out, when the primarily back and side sleeping ALSPAC babies were compared to the primarily stomach sleeping Colorado babies used to develop the DDST the researchers obtained these results: 68% of the ALSPAC infants had abnormal scores at 6 months of age compared to the stomach sleeping DDST Colorado infants and 57% of the ALSPAC infants had abnormal scores at 18 months compared to the original stomach sleeping DDST Colorado infants.
    Summary of Alan Emond letter to BMJ in 2005 regarding ALSPAC data and a research project unrelated to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

  2. I hadn't heard any of this. I'm also
    not sure what the percentages above mean. Is it 68% more infants had abnormal scores? And abnormal scores on what? I guess I should go look it up.

    If sleeping on the back or side causes developmental abnormalities, we're going to have to weigh that against the risk of SIDS.