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Autism

Sometimes, when you're feeling anxious, all you need is a hug. But the thought of actually hugging someone might instil yet more anxiety. That's where the Snug Vest comes in. It uses a clinical method known as deep pressure therapy to essentially simulate a hug, which has been found to help reduce anxiety and stress and to be an effective treatment for people with autism or ADHD. Read More
In lieu of an effective medical test, physicians rely on assessments of behavioural patterns and social skills to diagnose autism. But new research suggests that this process needn't be so prolonged and intrusive. A team of scientists has identified biomarkers in the saliva of children with the condition, potentially paving the way for earlier, and more reliable, diagnoses. Read More
A new app released by Samsung aims to improve the lives of children suffering from autism by presenting a fun, smartphone or tablet-based developmental aid. Many who have the condition struggle to convey the simplest of emotions or form bonds with others, due to the behavioral development issues that prevent simple interactions such as eye contact. The app, known as Look At Me, is targeted at improving the quality of life for those growing up with autism by aiding in the development of basic social skills. Read More
Over a number of years, researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute have developed software to measure human emotion through face detection and analysis. Dubbed SHORE (Sophisticated High-speed Object Recognition), the technology has the potential to aid communication for those with disabilities. Now the team has repurposed the software as an app for Google Glass, with a view to bringing its emotion-detecting technology to the world. Read More
When experts look back over early home movies of babies later diagnosed with autism, they can see the early behavioral markers of the disorder. The average age of diagnosis, however, is 5 years old. The availability and cost of trained clinicians limits not just early awareness, but also research into autism on a large scale. At Duke University, researchers from different disciplines are using computer vision algorithms to make early diagnosis more likely, and even intend to create an app for parents to use at home. Read More
A new toilet-training device developed by researchers at the University of Rochester combines a wearable sensor pad, Bluetooth technology, an iOS device and accompanying app to help toilet train intellectually disabled children. Rather than just providing entertainment like the iPotty, the Quick Trainer issues an alert the moment the child starts to pee, so adults can take them to the toilet and encourage them to use it. If all goes well, they are rewarded with treats to encourage them to head to the toilet the next time the need arises. Read More
Syracuse University graduate Amanda Savitzky’s thesis project, known as “The Match Cooking Prep System for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder” (ASD), has not only been a successful personal journey for her family, but has also seen her awarded the top prize in the 2013 Metropolis Next Generation Competition. Her Match Cooking Prep System is designed to provide practical tools that assist in enabling someone with ASD to learn how to cook. Read More

“Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry,” the Hulk’s alter ego Bruce Banner famously said. Now researchers have made a discovery that might one day have implications for anyone considering Bruce as a potential house guest. The researchers have identified a brain receptor that malfunctions in overly hostile mice - a receptor that also exists in humans - and found a way to shut it down, offering the potential for the development of treatments for severe aggression. Read More

Autism sufferers can often experience high levels of anxiety caused by sensory overload. While some would-be solutions focus on removing this sensory stimulation and distraction (like the Study Nook) others aim at dealing with the stress caused. The Squease Vest is an inflatable vest which, it's claimed, can help to alleviate anxiety through deep body pressure. Read More
A fast and accurate test for Autism has been developed by researchers at McLean Hospital and the University of Utah. It is hoped that the biologically based test, which uses Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to measure brain activity, can replace the subjective test currently used for diagnosis of the condition. Read More
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