Fox Family Edge: "Analyzing your Baby's Cry"

It's something that often causes a parent to come running. Your baby's crying. Is he hungry? Is he in pain?

"When it comes to sort of parenting, we actually want to back off and reinforce that parents should use their intuitions," Dr. Stephen Sheinkopf said.

But your baby's cry could offer clues in to his or her future health. Dr. Sheinkopf helped develop an acoustic cry analyzer along with acoustic engineers at Brown University.

"The specific thing that we're interested in here is how to detect early risk for developmental conditions, developmental disorders such as autism and other conditions," he said.
"There's been a long standing history of analyzing babies cries as an early neurological or neurodevelopmental health in babies."

It's nothing new, but the way it's being done now is new.

Depending on the pitch and other acoustic features, researchers believe they can determine early on if the baby will develop autism or other developmental delays. The cries are measured in milliseconds and since it's automated, the cries can be evaluated in more detail and more efficiently.

"We have a paper that we published last year using an old version of a cry analysis system that showed babies who are diagnosed with autism produce cries differently when we recorded their cries at 6 months of age," Dr. Sheinkopf said.

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