Gadget to Detect Autism in Crying Infants

Baby’s cry can help identify health problems that went undetected. This was stated by staff at Brown University in the United States and Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, The Daily Mail writes.

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Baby’s crying is a signal of hunger, pain, or discomfort for parents. However, the study revealed that it shows more. Experts have created a computerized device that analyzes crying: it will determine whether the child has serious neurological problems or developmental disorders.

Stephen Sheinkopf comments that the differences in the acoustics of crying can tell us about the infants’ state. Abnormalities are usually found in children who were injured at birth or damaged during pregnancy, as well as those who were born prematurely. The analysis of the differences may become a non-invasive way to detect failures in the neurobiological and neurobehavioral systems.

The device operates in two stages. At first it divides the recorded crying in equal segments of 12.5 ms. Each segment is evaluated on several parameters, including wave frequency, voice expressiveness and volume. The second stage uses the data obtained in the course of the first one, and the range of parameters is reduced to the most important ones. As a result, the segments are recombined and analyzed as moments of silence or crying. Long segments are separated from the short ones, and the time interval between them is recorded.

The authors say that crying can be a kind of “window” into the brain. Neurological defects affect the vocal cords. Changes in the sound can show the presence of various diseases. The scientists plan to use the device for autism detection. According to them, autists produce the sounds atypical of a healthy person, so the disease can be detected in infancy.

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