In accordance with the saying, “the eyes never lie,” new research has revealed how our eyes may be able to signal neurodevelopmental disorders. In a recent study done at the University of South Australia and Flinders University, researchers found that investigating retinal signaling may reveal ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, in children.
In the study, researchers used an electroretinogram (ERG) to measure the retina's electrical activity in response to light stimuli. By measuring retinal signals, researchers can analyze and localize the nerves and different pathways generating signals to the brain, allowing researchers to distinctly differentiate the responses in children with ADHD and ASD from typically developing children.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition categorized by being overactive, difficulty paying attention, and sometimes difficulty controlling impulsive behaviors. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by problems with expressive and receptive communication, poorly developed social skills, and restrictive or repetitive behaviors. Researchers found that children with ADHD showed higher overall ERG energy, whereas children with ASD showed lesser ERG energy.
Through the development of research similar to the one performed by Dr. Fernando
Marmolego-Ramos, there is “potential to extend across other neurological conditions.” Although further research is required to determine neurodevelopmental conditions
through retinal signal analysis definitively, this research progresses our understanding of the neuronal activity in neurodevelopmental conditions.