News ID: 260736
Published: 0325 GMT October 25, 2019

Aussie study: App records babies' movement to predict brain impairments

Aussie study: App records babies' movement to predict brain impairments

A study which will involve parents filming their newborn infants with a smartphone app, could lead to earlier detection of brain impairments such as cerebral palsy, the West Australian (WA) state government said on Friday.

Jane Valentine from the WA Child and Adolescent Health Service will lead a groundbreaking study involving 3,000 parents from the state capital of Perth who will film their babies, once at two weeks and once at 12 weeks old, to be assessed by the research team, Xinhua reported.

Any baby found to have an abnormal pattern of movement at 12 weeks will be referred for further investigation at the Perth Children's Hospital.

A specially designed smartphone app is required, with the hope that soon all parents will have access to similar technology to easily and cheaply determine if their babies are developing without issue.

"This project is an example of some of the highly innovative research that is underway in WA," WA Health Minister Roger Cook said.

"It has the potential to enable children who have a brain impairment to get the best possible start in life by ensuring they are identified early and can receive the help they need when they need it most," Cook said.

Already, movement patterns are used to predict cerebral palsy with 90 percent accuracy and emerging evidence suggests that a similar method could be used to predict other cognitive impairments.

Researchers hope to develop a smartphone app which uses machine learning to differentiate between normal and abnormal body movements — likely to be especially beneficial in remote communities where it is more difficult to find a specialist to assess movement patterns in person.

"This exciting innovation shows how new technology can be applied to give country families better and more affordable access to care for their babies," Cook said.



Resource: Xinhua
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