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Infant Neural Sensitivity to Dynamic Eye Gaze Is Associated with Later Emerging Autism

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Infant Neural Sensitivity to Dynamic Eye Gaze Is Associated with Later Emerging Autism

Post  Admin on Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:08 pm

Infant Neural Sensitivity to Dynamic Eye Gaze Is Associated with Later Emerging Autism

This study is published in Current Biology, 26 January 2012.


Background:
There are currently no reliable predictors of autism in infancy, but characteristic behaviors emerge during the second year, enabling diagnosis after this age.
Because indicators of brain functioning may be sensitive predictors, and atypical eye contact is characteristic of the syndrome, neural sensitivity to eye gaze were recorded to examine if this during infancy is associated with later autism outcomes.

Methods:
Prospective longitudinal study of infants with and without familial risk for autism was done.
At 6–10 months, infants' event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded in response to viewing faces with eye gaze directed toward versus away from the infant.

Results:
Longitudinal analyses showed that characteristics of ERP components evoked in response to dynamic eye gaze shifts during infancy were associated with autism diagnosed at 36 months.

Conclusion:
ERP responses to eye gaze may help characterize developmental processes that lead to later emerging autism. Findings also elucidate the mechanisms driving the development of the social brain in infancy.

Read the article here:
http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(11)01469-2


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