According to the researchers at the University of Missouri, advanced 3D facial imaging techniques may help detect autism early.
The researchers have identified facial measurements in children with autism that may lead to a screening tool for young children and provide clues to its genetic causes.
Ye Duan, associate professor of computer science at the university, revealed that they wanted to detect the specific facial traits of the face of a child with autism. This will help define the facial structures common to children with autism and potentially enable early screening for the disorder.
The researchers used a system of cameras to photograph and generate 3D images of children's faces. The children selected were between 8 and 12 years old. One group of children had been diagnosed with autism while the other group consisted of typically developing children.
They photographed the faces of children using 3D imaging which allowed scientists to measure distances along the curvature of the face rather than in a straight line as had been done in previous tests. Using 3D images and statistical analysis, they made a 'fine-tuned map' of children's faces and compared those measurements to the various symptoms they exhibit.
The study authors believe that research can enable detecting autism early.
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