BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Heart rate mean and variability as a biomarker for phenotypic variation in preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Bazelmans, T. and Jones, Emily J.H. and Ghods, S. and Corrigan, S. and Toth, K. and Charman, T. and Webb, S. (2018) Heart rate mean and variability as a biomarker for phenotypic variation in preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism Research 12 (1), pp. 39-52. ISSN 1939-3792.

    HR and HRV in Preschoolers with ASD_completedoc+fig+supl.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

    Download (2MB) | Preview


    Interest in autonomic arousal in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is increasing; however, reliability of these measures in ASD is unknown, and previously reported associations with social and cognitive abilities are inconsistent. This study assesses heart rate (HR) and HR variability (HRV) in preschoolers with ASD or typical development (TD) while they passively watched naturalistic videos. Measurement reliability, group differences, and the relationship with social and cognitive abilities were evaluated. Seventy one ASD and 66 TD children (2–4 years) provided cardiac data from two sessions. Test–retest intraclass correlations of HR and HRV over a 3‐week period were moderate to good in both groups. Groups did not differ in mean level of HR or HRV. Intra‐individual variability of HR between video segments within a session was higher in the ASD group, but intraclass correlations of this metric were low. Higher HR related to better language skills in TD children, but not after accounting for age and nonverbal ability. Higher HRV related to better expressive and receptive language in ASD children after controlling for age and nonverbal ability. HR/HRV were not related to social or executive functioning skills and did not explain any additional variance in abilities at a 12‐month follow‐up visit. In summary, variation in language abilities is associated with HR in the TD group and HRV in the ASD group. While preliminary, these results are promising for consideration of autonomic control as a biomarker for individual differences in ASD and may help us understand the mechanisms that contribute to communication skills.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the article, which has been published in final form at the link above. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): autism spectrum disorder, autonomic control, biomarker, cognition, heart rate, language, reliability
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Emily Jones
    Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2018 13:34
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:45


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item