Navy funds autism-screening app, hoping for help with PTSD

Health apps
Posted at 11:29 AM, Mar 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-20 11:29:00-04

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Navy is paying for research into an app to screen for autism in the hopes that it could eventually be tweaked to look for signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Developmental and trauma disorders might at first appear strange bedfellows.

The researchers and a PTSD expert for the VA say it could be an exciting new direction, though another PTSD expert is skeptical.

Facial expressions can indicate the presence of autism, PTSD and other disorders.

The Autism & Beyond app uses a smartphone camera and an algorithm to read children's facial expressions and assess their emotional responses.

A program officer in the Office of Naval Research says the app could be expanded to PTSD to monitor people over time if speech and other signals are taken into account.