July 2, 2015
Non-verbal tests that measure sniff response may be useful in identifying autism spectrum disorder, as recent study findings show children with autism do not adjust their sniff response when smelling pleasant or unpleasant scents.
“Autism spectrum disorder is associated with impaired sensory-moto coordination. One type of brain mechanism subserving sensory-motor coordination is referred to as internal action models, [which] allow action initiation based on sensory expectations alone and ongoing refinement of motor output based on sensory input flow,” study researcher Liron Rozenkrantz, a PhD student at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and colleagues wrote in Current Biology. “Because sniff response entails fine adjustment of motor process (the sniff) in precise accordance with sensory input (the odor), it can be considered an [internal action model].”