About Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Track Eye Movements to Diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder

Track Eye Movements to Diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder

Font : A-A+

  • New test helps in identifying people with Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
  • Cerebellum dysfunction is marked by the inability of the brain to adjust the size of eye movement
  • ASD is diagnosed by measuring rapid eye movements in individuals

The new test developed helps physicians identify a sub-group of people with Autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The test measures rapid eye movements, which may indicate deficits in an area of the brain that plays a crucial role in emotional and social development, reveals a new study published in European Journal of Neuroscience.

Eye movement serves as a window into a part of the brain, which plays a major role in a number of neurological and development disorders, such as Autism, said John Foxe, Ph.D., director of the University of Rochester Medical Center Del Monte Neuroscience Institute and co-author of the study.


Symptoms of Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by a wide range of symptoms. These symptoms can vary from person to person depending on it's severity. This poses a great challenge for diagnosis and also in designing a course of treatment.

The first essential step in providing effective care to these individuals is to identify the specific phenotype of the disorder. For decades, neuroscience researchers have been focusing on eye movements and the mechanisms by which the brain controls and processes what we choose to look at.

The rapid eye movements like shifting our attention from one object to another is known as saccades that are essential to navigate, understand, and interact with the world around us. The saccades are rapid, precise, and accurate, redirecting the line of sight from one point of interest to another in healthy individuals.

Cerebellum, a densely-packed structure of neurons, is the area of the brain that controls these actions, that has a potential relevance of eye movement in individuals with Autism.

Traditionally, cerebellum is considered to play a vital role in the motor control. Now, the cerebellum is known to be essential to emotion and cognition, through its connections to the rest of the brain.

In the sub-population of individuals with Autism spectrum disorders (ASD), there is growing evidence that shows that the structure of the cerebellum has been altered.

Tracking Eye Movements of Individuals

The authors of this study have tracked the eye movements of individuals with Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in a series of experiments.

The participants were asked to track a visual target, which appeared on different locations of the screen. The experiment was designed in such a way that the participant's focus "overshoots" the intended target.

The brain in a healthy individual adjusts eye movements correctly, as the task is repeated. But, the eye movements of individuals with ASD continued to miss the target, which shows that the sensory motor controls are impaired.

The inability of the brain to adjust the size of eye movement is a marker for cerebellum dysfunction. Apart from it, the brain can also help explain the communication and social interaction deficits that many individuals with ASD experience.

The findings from this research suggest that assessing the ability of people to adapt saccade amplitudes determines whether this function of the cerebellum is altered in Autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Edward Freedman, Ph.D. an associate professor in the URMC Department of Neuroscience and co-author of the study said: "If these deficits do turn out to be a consistent finding in a sub-group of children with ASD, this raises the possibility that saccade adaptation measures may have utility as a method that will allow early detection of this disorder."

  1. John Foxe, et.al. Eye Test Could Help Diagnose Autism. European Journal of Neuroscience 24 July (2017).

Source: Medindia

Citations   close

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Hannah Joy. (2017, July 25). Track Eye Movements to Diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder. Medindia. Retrieved on May 19, 2022 from https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/track-eye-movements-to-diagnose-autism-spectrum-disorder-171899-1.htm.

  • MLA

    Hannah Joy. "Track Eye Movements to Diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder". Medindia. May 19, 2022. <https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/track-eye-movements-to-diagnose-autism-spectrum-disorder-171899-1.htm>.

  • Chicago

    Hannah Joy. "Track Eye Movements to Diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder". Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/track-eye-movements-to-diagnose-autism-spectrum-disorder-171899-1.htm. (accessed May 19, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Hannah Joy. 2021. Track Eye Movements to Diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder. Medindia, viewed May 19, 2022, https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/track-eye-movements-to-diagnose-autism-spectrum-disorder-171899-1.htm.


News A-Z
What's New on Medindia
Black Water: Benefits and Uses
World Hypertension Day 2022 - Measure Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer!
Drinking This Popular Beverage May Drop Dementia Risk
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Autism Ptosis Nervous Tic Eye Vision LASIK Surgery Facts Allergy Eye Drops Rett Syndrome Routine Eye Examination Quiz On Eye Donation 

Most Popular on Medindia

Post-Nasal Drip Find a Doctor Calculate Ideal Weight for Infants Sinopril (2mg) (Lacidipine) Blood - Sugar Chart Accident and Trauma Care A-Z Drug Brands in India Color Blindness Calculator Pregnancy Confirmation Calculator Drug Side Effects Calculator

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use