New smartphone app tracks eye movements to detect early signs of autism

A new autism tracking software has been perfected, and it can be installed on cell phones, computers or tablets. It will be a valuable aid to detect the neurodegenerative ailment which is best treated if it is detected early.

Scientists have perfected the software which can be installed on any smartphone and works by tracking the eye movements of the child to detect any sign of autism spectrum disorder.

Autism spectrum disorder is a debilitating disease which occurs in one to two persons per thousand worldwide. The condition impairs the person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. The application can be installed on cell phones, computers, and tablets and can detect the neurodegenerative ailments in children who are as young as two years and could dramatically improve the prognosis of the condition.

Autism is often not suspected till the child attains school going age and by that time the damage is already done and measures unproductive. It is never too late to start therapy, but studies have demonstrated that the prognosis is much better if the treatment is started early.

How does it work?

The application tracks the eye movements of the child when he looks at pictures of social scenes and gets the most dramatic difference between the eye movements of an average child and a child with autism. The eye movements of a child with the disease are more scattered as compared to a healthy child that is more focused. The app can be used by parents to check if their kid has any neurodegenerative ailment and enable the start of therapy sooner and get better results of treatments.

The app hardly takes 54 seconds to assess a subject and is, therefore, less intrusive than other forms of tests. It is also useful for kids with short attention spans. The biggest benefit of the application is it crosses cultural and language barriers.

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