Every year 1 in 150 babies is diagnosed with Autism making it the fastest growing disability. With a 10 to 15% increase in diagnoses each year, researchers are eager to find out more about the disability.
The Baby Lab project studies up to 20 children at a time, examining what is going on inside their heads as they are shown a variety of different objects or colours.
128 probes are attached to the child’s scalp, monitoring electromagnetic brain activity. Scientists gather information they hope could lead to a breakthrough in the understanding of autism.
Initially the probes were too heavy and uncomfortable for the babies, but engineers-have now created a lightweight net of foam-covered sensors which makes the experience much more palatable.
One of the key areas of study is eyesight, which changes dramatically from the first few weeks when a baby cannot focus on objects further than eight to 15 inches away, to being able to track objects such as a toy at greater distances.
It is amazing to me that a child this small would allow this many probes to be placed on their head.
I once saw a newborn undergo a brain study while my son was in the NICU and it was heartbreaking to hear her cry hysterically because there was so much stuff on her head.
Both the parents and the children deserve a lot of respect for having the patience to participate in this study.
I hope the findings are able to help scientists better understand the changes and functions of the brain.
For more information on the study please visit the article written by the Daily Mail and for more information on the Autism please visit the Autism Society website.