New York - A new study by researchers from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, has established the reliability of straightforward eye movement tests in the diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in children.
This condition called FASD affects children when mothers have consumed alcohol during pregnancy. To understand how eye movements, or oculomotor tasks, could help effectively measure FASD in children, the research team compared the results of eye movement tests of 10 FASD children with 12 normal children.
The comparison revealed that children who suffer FASD were inclined to commit directional errors, when they were asked to view a stimulus or look away from the stimulus. The children also needed a longer reaction time as compared to normal children.
In the research published in the March issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, scientists infer, "Whereas oculomotor tasks have been used to assess brain function in a number of different clinical populations, this is the first such study to be carried out in FASD children."
The researchers also concede that the diagnosis of FASD with eye movement tests would be extremely difficult if alcohol consumption of women during pregnancy is not confirmed.