Infant Cry Acoustics:  Measurement Tools and Relation to Developmental Outcomes
The acoustic features of infant cries contain information about the neurodevelopmental health of infants. We have investigated the relation between the acoustic features of cries from infants at risk for autism in relation to later childhood diagnoses.  In a recent study, we found that 6 month old infants at risk for autism had higher pitched cries than low risk infants, and those infants with later diagnoses of autism produced cries that were both high in pitch (fundamental frequency) and poorly voiced (dysphonation).  In order to follow up on these initial observations, we have developed an improved, modern and well validated measurement tool for acoustic analyses of infant cries. This cry analyzer is available as a research tool for qualified investigators. Primary Investigators:  Stephen Sheinkopf PhD, Barry Lester PhD, Harvey Silverman PhD.

Internet use Habits in Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)
ASDs and child and adolescent Internet behavior are two subjects of considerable concern in the public health domain. How exactly children and adolescents with ASD interact with the Internet medium however has been the subject of relatively little research. This study sought to identify how (gaming, social media, chat rooms, etc.) and why (social contact, find information, etc.) children and adolescents with ASD are using the Internet, as well as the degree to which parents are aware of their Internet use. Primary Investigators: Todd Levine MD. 

Physiologic Reactivity to Social Stimuli in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders ASDs
The focus of this research is how psychophysiological markers of arousal measured in children and adults with ASDs differ or are similar to those without ASDs.  These markers include those related to the “fight or flight” response (sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems) as well as stress hormones (cortisol).  Our goal is to understand how those with ASDs may react differently based on having some difficulties related to their social and non-social environments. Primary Investigators:   Todd Levine MD,  Stephen Sheinkopf PhD.

The Neonatal Neurobehavior and Outcomes in Very Preterm Infants (NOVI)
Infants born less than 30 weeks gestational age are at high risk for developing severe impairment including cognitive, language, and behavior disorders and autism. Unfortunately, there is no method to identify which of these infants will become impaired and which will not. The purpose of the NOVI study is to follow approximately 900 infants across six sites from hospital discharge to two years of age and to determine if our neurobehavioral exam (NNNS) , medical factors and epigenetic marks, can identify infants that will be impaired by age 2.  Acoustic cry measures will also be used to help identify infants at risk for autism. Early identification can lead to interventions that can ameliorate or prevent later deficits.  Primary Investigator: Barry Lester PhD.


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