It is essential for treatment and the management of symptoms to perform an early diagnosis of neurodevelopmental diseases such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Now, a team of researchers from the University of South Australia has discovered that recordings made from the retina may be utilized to detect unique signals for both ADHD and ASD. This finding provides a potential biomarker for each illness. The team used a diagnostic test called an electroretinogram (ERG), which measures the electrical activity of the retina in response to light. Using this test, they discovered that children with autism spectrum disorder displayed less ERG energy, whereas children with ADHD displayed more ERG energy. This information was disclosed in a press release that was issued by the institution.
Positive findings that point to advances in both diagnosis and therapy
According to Dr. Paul Constable, a research optometrist at Flinders University, who was quoted in the press release, the preliminary findings show that there is potential for future improvements in diagnosis and therapies.
“Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are the Most Common Neurodevelopmental Disorders Diagnosed in Children.” However, since they frequently exhibit same symptoms, making diagnoses for both disorders can be a time-consuming and difficult process, according to Dr. Constable. “Our research is aimed at making this situation better. We expect to be able to produce more accurate and early diagnoses for a variety of neurodevelopmental problems if we can learn how signals in the retina react to light stimulation by conducting research in this area “he added.
The electroretinogram, or ERG, has been utilized as a standard test paradigm for the diagnosis of retinal abnormalities ever since it was developed in the 1940s. However, the application of this method for neurodevelopmental problems not only makes it possible to differentiate ADHD and autistic patients from control cases, but it also makes the distinction between the two conditions very evident.
There are significant distinctions between persons diagnosed with ASD and ADHD.
An ERG examination was performed on all of the participants, who ranged in age from 3 to 27, including 226 young people, 55 individuals diagnosed with ADS, 15 individuals diagnosed with ADHD, and 156 individuals serving as controls. Individuals with autism spectrum disorder, patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and control participants all showed substantial changes in their B-wave energy levels and oscillatory potentials. Patients with ASD showed lower overall ERG energy levels compared to control patients, while patients with ADHD showed higher overall ERG energy levels than control patients.
“Retinal signals have specific nerves that generate them, so if we can identify these differences and localize them to specific pathways that use different chemical signals that are also used in the brain, then we can show distinct differences for children with ADHD and ASD and potentially other neurodevelopmental conditions. “Retinal signals have specific nerves that generate them.” “according to Constable’s statement in the press release.
“This work provides preliminary evidence for neurophysiological changes that not only distinguish children with ADHD and ASD from children who are developing ordinarily, but also show that these conditions can be discriminated from each other based on the characteristics of the ERG.
The research group intends to broaden the scope of their experiments to include other neurological disorders. Dr. Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos, a co-researcher at the University of South Australia and an expert in human and artificial cognition, stated that “ultimately, we’re looking at how the eyes may assist us comprehend the brain.”
The findings of the research were presented in a paper that was published in the academic journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.