Enhanced pupillary light reflex in infancy is associated with autism diagnosis in toddlerhood

Pär Nyström, Teodora Gliga, Elisabeth Nilsson Jobs, Gustaf Gredebäck, Tony Charman, Mark H Johnson, Sven Bölte, Terje Falck-Ytter

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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition affecting around 1% of the population. We previously discovered that infant siblings of children with ASD had stronger pupillary light reflexes compared to low-risk infants, a result which contrasts sharply with the weak pupillary light reflex typically seen in both children and adults with ASD. Here, we show that on average the relative constriction of the pupillary light reflex is larger in 9-10-month-old high risk infant siblings who receive an ASD diagnosis at 36 months, compared both to those who do not and to low-risk controls. We also found that the magnitude of the pupillary light reflex in infancy is associated with symptom severity at follow-up. This study indicates an important role of sensory atypicalities in the etiology of ASD, and suggests that pupillometry, if further developed and refined, could facilitate risk assessment in infants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1678
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2018
Externally publishedYes

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