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Advanced 3D Facial Imaging May Aid in Early Detection of Autism

Ye Duan, associate professor of computer science at the University of Missouri.

Ye Duan, associate professor of computer science at the University of Missouri, explains, We want to define the autistic face. Theres probably not a single autistic face, but we want to try to find how many different main types of the face there are, if

Credit: Shelby Kardell

Researchers at the University of Missouri have used advanced three-dimensional (3D) imaging to identify facial measurements in children with autism.

The system of cameras produced photographs of the faces and generated 3D images, enabling the team to measure distances along the curvature of the face, instead of in a straight line as has been done in the past. The researchers then used statistical-analysis techniques to measure differences in the facial measurements, created a map of faces, and compared those measurements to the symptoms they exhibit.

"We want to detect the specific facial traits of the face of a child with autism," says Missouri professor Ye Duan. "Doing so might help us define the facial structures common to children with autism and potentially enable early screening for the disorder."

The analyses show three distinct subgroups of children had similar measurement patterns in their facial features. There also were similarities in the type and severity of their symptoms, and the findings could be used to develop a screening tool for young children and provide clues to genetic causes.

From MU News Bureau (MO)
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