Effect of Wearable Digital Intervention for Improving Socialization in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial.
Importance: Autism behavioral therapy is effective but expensive and difficult to access. While mobile technology-based therapy can alleviate wait-lists and scale for increasing demand, few clinical trials exist to support its use for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) care.Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of Superpower Glass, an artificial intelligence-driven wearable behavioral intervention for improving social outcomes of children with ASD.Design, Setting, and Participants: A randomized clinical trial in which participants received the Superpower Glass intervention plus standard of care applied behavioral analysis therapy and control participants received only applied behavioral analysis therapy. Assessments were completed at the Stanford University Medical School, and enrolled participants used the Superpower Glass intervention in their homes. Children aged 6 to 12 years with a formal ASD diagnosis who were currently receiving applied behavioral analysis therapy were included. Families were recruited between June 2016 and December 2017. The first participant was enrolled on November 1, 2016, and the last appointment was completed on April 11, 2018. Data analysis was conducted between April and October 2018.Interventions: The Superpower Glass intervention, deployed via Google Glass (worn by the child) and a smartphone app, promotes facial engagement and emotion recognition by detecting facial expressions and providing reinforcing social cues. Families were asked to conduct 20-minute sessions at home 4 times per week for 6 weeks.Main Outcomes and Measures: Four socialization measures were assessed using an intention-to-treat analysis with a Bonferroni test correction.Results: Overall, 71 children (63 boys [89%]; mean [SD] age, 8.38 [2.46] years) diagnosed with ASD were enrolled (40 [56.3%] were randomized to treatment, and 31 (43.7%) were randomized to control). Children receiving the intervention showed significant improvements on the Vineland Adaptive Behaviors Scale socialization subscale compared with treatment as usual controls (mean [SD] treatment impact, 4.58 [1.62]; P=.005). Positive mean treatment effects were also found for the other 3 primary measures but not to a significance threshold of P=.0125.Conclusions and Relevance: The observed 4.58-point average gain on the Vineland Adaptive Behaviors Scale socialization subscale is comparable with gains observed with standard of care therapy. To our knowledge, this is the first randomized clinical trial to demonstrate efficacy of a wearable digital intervention to improve social behavior of children with ASD. The intervention reinforces facial engagement and emotion recognition, suggesting either or both could be a mechanism of action driving the observed improvement. This study underscores the potential of digital home therapy to augment the standard of care.Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT03569176.
View details for PubMedID 30907929
Mobile detection of autism through machine learning on home video: A development and prospective validation study.
2018; 15 (11): e1002705
BACKGROUND: The standard approaches to diagnosing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) evaluate between 20 and 100 behaviors and take several hours to complete. This has in part contributed to long wait times for a diagnosis and subsequent delays in access to therapy. We hypothesize that the use of machine learning analysis on home video can speed the diagnosis without compromising accuracy. We have analyzed item-level records from 2 standard diagnostic instruments to construct machine learning classifiers optimized for sparsity, interpretability, and accuracy. In the present study, we prospectively test whether the features from these optimized models can be extracted by blinded nonexpert raters from 3-minute home videos of children with and without ASD to arrive at a rapid and accurate machine learning autism classification.METHODS AND FINDINGS: We created a mobile web portal for video raters to assess 30 behavioral features (e.g., eye contact, social smile) that are used by 8 independent machine learning models for identifying ASD, each with >94% accuracy in cross-validation testing and subsequent independent validation from previous work. We then collected 116 short home videos of children with autism (mean age = 4 years 10 months, SD = 2 years 3 months) and 46 videos of typically developing children (mean age = 2 years 11 months, SD = 1 year 2 months). Three raters blind to the diagnosis independently measured each of the 30 features from the 8 models, with a median time to completion of 4 minutes. Although several models (consisting of alternating decision trees, support vector machine [SVM], logistic regression (LR), radial kernel, and linear SVM) performed well, a sparse 5-feature LR classifier (LR5) yielded the highest accuracy (area under the curve [AUC]: 92% [95% CI 88%-97%]) across all ages tested. We used a prospectively collected independent validation set of 66 videos (33 ASD and 33 non-ASD) and 3 independent rater measurements to validate the outcome, achieving lower but comparable accuracy (AUC: 89% [95% CI 81%-95%]). Finally, we applied LR to the 162-video-feature matrix to construct an 8-feature model, which achieved 0.93 AUC (95% CI 0.90-0.97) on the held-out test set and 0.86 on the validation set of 66 videos. Validation on children with an existing diagnosis limited the ability to generalize the performance to undiagnosed populations.CONCLUSIONS: These results support the hypothesis that feature tagging of home videos for machine learning classification of autism can yield accurate outcomes in short time frames, using mobile devices. Further work will be needed to confirm that this approach can accelerate autism diagnosis at scale.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002705
View details for PubMedID 30481180