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J Autism Dev Disord. 2012 Jun;42(6):937-46. doi: 10.1007/s10803-011-1316-8.

Visual attention and autistic behavior in infants with fragile X syndrome.

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FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA.


Aberrant attention is a core feature of fragile X syndrome (FXS), however, little is known regarding the developmental trajectory and underlying physiological processes of attention deficits in FXS. Atypical visual attention is an early emerging and robust indictor of autism in idiopathic (non-FXS) autism. Using a biobehavioral approach with gaze direction and heart activity, we examined visual attention in infants with FXS at 9, 12, and 18 months of age with a cross-sectional comparison to 12-month-old typically developing infants. Analyses revealed lower HR variability, shallower HR decelerations, and prolonged look durations in 12-month old infants with FXS compared to typical controls. Look duration and increased latency to disengage attention were correlated with severity of autistic behavior but not mental age.

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