An Integrated Approach for the Monitoring of Brain and Autonomic Response of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders during Treatment by Wearable Technologies

Lucia Billeci, Alessandro Tonacci, Gennaro Tartarisco, Antonio Narzisi, Simone Di Palma, Daniele Corda, Giovanni Baldus, Federico Cruciani, Salvatore M. Anzalone, Sara Calderoni, Giovanni Pioggia, Filippo Muratori, Silvio Bonfiglio, Cristiano Paggetti, Koushik Maharatna, Valentina Bono, Mark Donnelly, Leo Galway, Mayrose Francisa, Angele GiulianoFabio Apicella, Chiara Lucentini, Federico Sicca, Mohamed Chetouani, David Cohen, Jean Xavier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
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Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are associated with physiological abnormalities, which are likely to contribute to the core symptoms of the condition. Wearable technologies can provide data in a semi-naturalistic setting, overcoming the limitations given by the constrained situations in which physiological signals are usually acquired. In this study an integrated system based on wearable technologies for the acquisition and analysis of neurophysiological and autonomic parameters during treatment is proposed and an application on five children with ASD is presented. Signals were acquired during a therapeutic session based on an imitation protocol in ASD children. Data were analyzed with the aim of extracting quantitative EEG (QEEG) features from EEG signals as well as heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV) from ECG. The system allowed evidencing changes in neurophysiological and autonomic response from the state of disengagement to the state of engagement of the children, evidencing a cognitive involvement in the children in the tasks proposed. The high grade of acceptability of the monitoring platform is promising for further development and implementation of the tool. In particular if the results of this feasibility study would be confirmed in a larger sample of subjects, the system proposed could be adopted in more naturalistic paradigms that allow real world stimuli to be incorporated into EEG/psychophysiological studies for the monitoring of the effect of the treatment and for the implementation of more individualized therapeutic programs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number276
Number of pages17
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Issue number276
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

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  • Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
  • quantitative EEG (QEEG)
  • electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • wearable sensors
  • monitoring
  • naturalistic
  • personalization
  • imitation


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