Joint attention studies in normal and autistic children using NIRS

Ujwal Chaudhary, Michael Hall, Anibal Gutierrez, Daniel Messinger, Gustavo Rey, Anuradha Godavarty

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


Autism is a socio-communication brain development disorder. It is marked by degeneration in the ability to respond to joint attention skill task, from as early as 12 to 18 months of age. This trait is used to distinguish autistic from nonautistic. In this study Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is being applied for the first time to study the difference in activation and connectivity in the frontal cortex of typically developing (TD) and autistic children between 4-8 years of age in response to joint attention task. The optical measurements are acquired in real time from frontal cortex using Imagent (ISS Inc.) - a frequency domain based NIRS system in response to video clips which engenders a feeling of joint attention experience in the subjects. A block design consisting of 5 blocks of following sequence 30 sec joint attention clip (J), 30 sec non-joint attention clip (NJ) and 30 sec rest condition is used. Preliminary results from TD child shows difference in brain activation (in terms of oxy-hemoglobin, HbO) during joint attention interaction compared to the nonjoint interaction and rest. Similar activation study did not reveal significant differences in HbO across the stimuli in, unlike in an autistic child. Extensive studies are carried out to validate the initial observations from both brain activation as well as connectivity analysis. The result has significant implication for research in neural pathways associated with autism that can be mapped using NIRS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics VII
StatePublished - Apr 12 2011
EventPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics VII - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 22 2011Jan 24 2011

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics VII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • Autism
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
  • Brain Activation
  • Hemodynamic Changes
  • Joint Attention
  • Near Infrared Spectroscopy
  • Typically Developing (TD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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