Playing peek-a-boo with babies could reveal early signs of autism

Those that exhibited lower levels of brain activity towards such games were more likely to develop the condition.

A new study reveals games like peek-a-boo and incy-wincy spider can help indicate signs of autism in babies, the Daily Mail reported.

Researchers from Birkbeck, University of London, University of Cambridge and University College London and King's College London were part of the team that conducted the study.

For the study, scientists compared brain scans of babies between the ages of four to six months with siblings who already had autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

They also observed how the infants reacted when playing these kinds of games, as well as, hearing people laugh and cry.

Babies that showed a lower level of brain activity in response the games were diagnosed with ASD.

Dr Sarah Lloyd-Fox from Birkbeck's Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, told The Sunday Telegraph:

"Given the importance of responding to others in our social world, it is possible that different attentional biases in babies may impact on the development of social brain responses, which can continue to affect the child's developmental trajectory as they get older.

"Identifying early patterns of altered development which may later associate with ASD is important, because it will allow doctors to offer earlier interventions and provide families with earlier avenues for support.

"This might mean giving the child and parents new strategies to reengage their attention towards important social cues and learn different ways of interacting."

The team also noted the children they diagnosed with ASD had stronger reactions to inanimate objects like cars.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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