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Article
Publication date: 3 November 2021

Elena Proskurnina, Galina Portnova, Maria Ivanova and Svetlana Sokolova

An electroencephalography (EEG) examination may cause psychological stress in children with autism that can interfere with the examination results. The objective information on…

Abstract

Purpose

An electroencephalography (EEG) examination may cause psychological stress in children with autism that can interfere with the examination results. The objective information on the presence or absence of psycho-emotional stress in patients can help interpret electroencephalograms. This paper aimed to demonstrate the potential of noninvasive objective diagnostics of emotional stress in autistic children undergoing an EEG examination based on analysis of saliva.

Design/methodology/approach

This study involved 19 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (ICD-10 F84.0); the mean age was seven years. During EEG examination of the children, behavioral parameters were assessed. The activity of cytochrome P450 reductase (CYPOR) in saliva was measured before and after the EEG procedure using lucigenin-enhanced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-stimulated chemiluminescence assay.

Findings

Significant differences in CYPOR activity were found between the children who were distressed during an EEG examination and the children without behavioral disturbances (Mann–Whitney test, p = 0.002). Thus, the EEG examination resulted in an increase in CYPOR activity in saliva cells, which may prove the stressful effect of this procedure on autistic children.

Originality/value

The chemiluminescent indices reflecting the activity of microsomal CYPOR in cells presenting in saliva correlate with the absence or presence of psychological stress in children; this phenomenon can be explained by an increased metabolism of the stress hormone, cortisol, by the cytochrome P450 microsomal system. Furthermore, the proposed method is completely safe, noninvasive, rapid (recording time is 20 min), inexpensive and promising for an objective assessment of psycho-emotional stress in autistic children undergoing medical examinations.

Details

Advances in Autism, vol. 8 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3868

Keywords

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