14/01/2010 10:24 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Babies Needed For Autism Study

Scientists are appealing for parents to allow their babies to take part in a study into autism.

Psychologists at Durham University want to monitor the brains of children aged up to two years to help them understand how autism develops.

Children will be fitted with caps with sensors attached and their brain activity will be recorded as they respond to different images, sounds and actions.

It sounds a bit scary but the scientists are assuring parents that it is non-invasive, harmless and painless.

It's also crucial to help understanding of how this condition works.

Dr Vincent Reid, a psychologist at the university, said: "We don't yet know enough about how the brains of very young babies develop and how they react to things.

"It is vital we know more so we can identify problems and developmental delays much earlier which could lead to earlier diagnosis of conditions such as autism."

The National Autistic Society says the estimated number of children under 18 with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is 133,500.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability. People with autism have difficulty with social communication, social interaction and social imagination.

People are affected in very different ways, with some able to live relatively "everyday" lives while others need lifelong specialist support.

The causes of autism are still being investigated and there is no "cure".

Dr Reid said: "It is important to stress that the procedure is non-invasive, harmless and painless.

"We are not doing any medical testing in this study but purely looking at babies' brains from an academic point of view."

Source: AOL News