Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Original Article

Visual scanning preferences in low birth weight preterm infants

Preferências de rastreamento visual em prematuros nascidos com baixo peso

Vivian R. G. Lederman; Ana L. Goulart; Juliana G. Negrão; Deyse H. F. da Cunha; Amélia M. N. dos Santos; José S. Schwartzman

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Abstract Introduction Few studies have used eye tracking as a screening tool for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in preterm infants. Objectives To evaluate fixation time on social and non-social figures and percentage of preterm babies who gazed at the images. Methods This was a cross-sectional study of 31 preterm infants born weighing ≤ 2,000 g in which eye gaze was evaluated at 6 months of corrected age. Six boards with social and non-social figures were projected on a computer screen, successively, evaluating time and percentage of preterm babies who gazed at each board. The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) was answered at 18 months of corrected age. Results Preterm infants showed longer visual fixation time on social figures compared with non-social images, regardless of the position of the social figure on the board. Similar percentages of preterm infants gazed either at social or non-social figures, at social figures with a direct or an indirect look, and at the eyes or mouth of the social figures. No preterm infant screened positive on the M-CHAT. Conclusion At 6 months of corrected age, preterm infants show the ability to gaze in an eye-tracking test, with preference for social figures, suggesting that this tool could be useful as another screening instrument for ASD.


Autism, autism spectrum disorder, eye tracking, preterm infant, social visual engagement


Resumo Introdução Poucos estudos utilizaram a varredura visual como ferramenta para rastreamento de transtorno do espectro do autismo (TEA) em bebês prematuros. Objetivos Avaliar bebês prematuros quanto ao o tempo de fixação de olhar em figuras sociais e não sociais e a porcentagem deles que olharam para as imagens. Métodos Este estudo transversal incluiu 31 bebês prematuros com ≤ 2.000 g ao nascer, cujo rastreamento visual foi avaliado aos 6 meses de idade corrigida. Seis pranchas com figuras sociais e não sociais foram projetadas em tela de computador, sucessivamente, avaliando-se o tempo e porcentagem de prematuros que olharam para cada prancha. O Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) foi respondido aos 18 meses de idade corrigida. Resultados Os bebês prematuros apresentaram maior tempo de fixação visual em figuras sociais do que não sociais, independentemente da posição da figura social na prancha. Porcentagens similares de prematuros olharam tanto para figuras sociais como para não sociais, para figuras sociais com olhar direto ou indireto, e para boca ou olhos das figuras sociais. Nenhum prematuro foi rastreado positivamente pelo M-CHAT. Conclusão Aos 6 meses de idade corrigida, prematuros apresentaram habilidade para varredura em teste de rastreamento visual, com preferência por figuras sociais, sugerindo que esta ferramenta pode ser útil como mais um instrumento para rastreamento de TEA.


Autismo, transtorno do espectro do autismo, varredura visual, prematuro, engajamento social visual


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