When it comes to ADHD and ASD, the eyes can reveal everything

Summary: Researchers say that measuring retinal electrical activity in response to light stimuli may be a biomarker of ADHD and autism.

A source: University of South Australia

It is often said that “the eyes tell everything”, but whatever their appearance, according to new research from Flinders University and the University of South Australia, the eyes can also signal neurodevelopmental disorders such as ASD and ADHD.

In the first study of this type, the researchers found that retinal recordings could identify a potential biomarker for each condition for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Using an electroretinogram (ERG) – a diagnostic test that measures the electrical activity of the retina in response to a light stimulus – the researchers found that children with ADHD showed less total ERG energy and children with ASD had less ERG energy.

Dr. Paul Constebl, a research optometer at Flinders University, says preliminary results suggest promising results for improved diagnosis and treatment in the future.

“ASD and ADHD are the most common neurodevelopmental disorders diagnosed in childhood. However, because they often have similar characteristics, diagnosing both conditions can be lengthy and difficult,” says Dr. Constable.

“Our research is aimed at improving this. By studying how retinal signals respond to light stimuli, we hope to develop accurate and early diagnoses for different conditions of neuronal development.

“Retinal signals have special nerves that create them, so if we can identify these differences and find them in specific ways using different chemical signals used in the brain, we can show clear differences for children with ADHD and ASD. Other neuronal developmental conditions.

“This study not only differentiates ADHD and ASD from normally developing children, but also provides preliminary evidence of neurophysiological changes that show that they differ from each other based on ERG characteristics.”

According to the World Health Organization, one in every 100 children has ASD, and 5-8 percent of children are diagnosed with ADHD.

Dr. Paul Constebl, a research optometer at Flinders University, says preliminary results suggest promising results for improved diagnosis and treatment in the future. Image in public domain

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulty being overactive, trying to concentrate, and controlling impulsive behavior. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is also a neurodegenerative condition in which children learn to behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from many others.

According to Dr. Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos, a researcher at the University of South Australia and an expert on human and artificial intelligence, the study could be extended to other neurological conditions.

“Finally, we’re looking at how the eye helps the brain understand,” says Dr. Marmoleho-Ramos.

“Although further research is needed to identify the signals in the retina that are characteristic of these and other neurodegenerative diseases, what we have seen so far shows that we are on the brink of something extraordinary.

“This is a time to really look at this space; Eyes can reveal everything. ”

The study was conducted in collaboration with McGill University, University College London and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.

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Author: Annabel Mansfield
A source: University of South Australia
The connection: Annabel Mansfield is a University of South Australia
Photo: Image in public domain

Original study: Open access.
Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos Boundaries in Neurology


Analysis of discrete wave transformation of electroretinogram in autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Background: Evaluation of the waveform of the electroretinogram in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) using the method of discrete wave transformation (DWT).

Methods: A total of 55 ASD, 15 ADHD and 156 control individuals participated in this study. Full-field light-adapted electroretinograms (ERGs) were recorded using the Troland protocol, taking into account the size of the pupil, with five flashing powers -0.12 to 1.20 log photopic cm.-two. DWT analysis was performed using Haar waves in waveforms to study the energy in the time windows of a- and b-waves and the oscillating potentials (OPs) that gave the six DWT coefficients related to these parameters. The central frequency bands are represented by a-wave, b-wave and OPs coefficients ranging from 20-160 Hz: a20, a40, b20, b40, op80 and op160, respectively. In addition, the percentage energy contribution of b-wave amplitude and OPs (% OPs) to the total ERG broadband energy was estimated.

Results: There were significant group differences (P <0.001) in the coefficients corresponding to the energies of the b-wave (b20, b40) and OPs (op80 and op160), as well as the amplitude of the b-wave. Significant differences between ADHD and control groups were found in the coefficients b20 and b40. The largest differences between ASD and the control group were found in the coefficients op80 and op160. The b-wave amplitude showed significant group differences from control participants for ASD and ADHD for luminous power above 0.4 log photopic cd.sm.-two (P <0.001).

A result: This methodological approach can provide insight into neural activity in the study of group differences, where retinal signaling can be altered by neuronal development or neurodegenerative conditions. However, further work is needed to determine if retinal signal analysis can offer a classification model for co-occurring neuronal developmental conditions such as ASD and ADHD.

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