Breaking News
May 3, 2019 - Vaping and Smoking May Signal Greater Motivation to Quit
May 3, 2019 - Dementia looks different in brains of Hispanics
May 3, 2019 - Short-Staffed Nursing Homes See Drop In Medicare Ratings
May 3, 2019 - Study of teens with eating disorders explores how substance users differ from non-substance users
May 3, 2019 - Scientists develop new video game that may help in the study of Alzheimer’s
May 3, 2019 - Arc Bio introduces Galileo Pathogen Solution product line at ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
May 3, 2019 - Cornell University study uncovers relationship between starch digestion gene and gut bacteria
May 3, 2019 - How to Safely Use Glucose Meters and Test Strips for Diabetes
May 3, 2019 - Anti-inflammatory drugs ineffective for prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
May 3, 2019 - Study tracks Pennsylvania’s oil and gas waste-disposal practices
May 3, 2019 - Creating a better radiation diagnostic test for astronauts
May 3, 2019 - Vegans are often deficient in these four nutrients
May 3, 2019 - PPDC announces seed grants to develop medical devices for children
May 3, 2019 - Study maps out the frequency and impact of water polo head injuries
May 3, 2019 - Research on Reddit identifies risks associated with unproven treatments for opioid addiction
May 3, 2019 - Good smells may help ease tobacco cravings
May 3, 2019 - Medical financial hardship found to be very common among people in the United States
May 3, 2019 - Researchers develop multimodal system for personalized post-stroke rehabilitation
May 3, 2019 - Study shows significant mortality benefit with CABG over percutaneous coronary intervention
May 3, 2019 - Will gene-editing of human embryos ever be justifiable?
May 3, 2019 - FDA Approves Dengvaxia (dengue vaccine) for the Prevention of Dengue Disease in Endemic Regions
May 3, 2019 - Why Tonsillitis Keeps Coming Back
May 3, 2019 - Fighting the opioid epidemic with data
May 3, 2019 - Maggot sausages may soon be a reality
May 3, 2019 - Deletion of ATDC gene prevents development of pancreatic cancer in mice
May 2, 2019 - Targeted Therapy Promising for Rare Hematologic Cancer
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease is a ‘double-prion disorder,’ study shows
May 2, 2019 - Reservoir bugs: How one bacterial menace makes its home in the human stomach
May 2, 2019 - Clinical, Admin Staff From Cardiology Get Sneak Peek at Epic
May 2, 2019 - Depression increases hospital use and mortality in children
May 2, 2019 - Vicon and NOC support CURE International to create first gait lab in Ethiopia
May 2, 2019 - Researchers use 3D printer to make paper organs
May 2, 2019 - Viral infection in utero associated with behavioral abnormalities in offspring
May 2, 2019 - U.S. Teen Opioid Deaths Soaring
May 2, 2019 - Opioid distribution data should be public
May 2, 2019 - In the Spotlight: “I’m learning every single day”
May 2, 2019 - 2019 Schaefer Scholars Announced
May 2, 2019 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Bye-Bye, ACA, And Hello ‘Medicare-For-All’?
May 2, 2019 - Study describes new viral molecular evasion mechanism used by cytomegalovirus
May 2, 2019 - SLU study suggests a more equitable way for Medicare reimbursement
May 2, 2019 - Scientists discover first gene involved in lower urinary tract obstruction
May 2, 2019 - Researchers identify 34 genes associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer
May 2, 2019 - Many low-income infants receive formula in the first few days of life, finds study
May 2, 2019 - Global study finds high success rate for hip and knee replacements
May 2, 2019 - Taking depression seriously: What is it?
May 2, 2019 - With Head Injuries Mounting, Will Cities Put Their Feet Down On E-Scooters?
May 2, 2019 - Scientists develop small fluorophores for tracking metabolites in living cells
May 2, 2019 - Study casts new light into how mothers’ and babies’ genes influence birth weight
May 2, 2019 - Researchers uncover new brain mechanisms regulating body weight
May 2, 2019 - Organ-on-chip systems offered to Asia-Pacific regions by Sydney’s AXT
May 2, 2019 - Adoption of new rules drops readmission penalties against safety net hospitals
May 2, 2019 - Kids and teens who consume zero-calorie sweetened beverages do not save calories
May 2, 2019 - Improved procedure for cancer-related erectile dysfunction
May 2, 2019 - Hormone may improve social behavior in autism
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by infectious proteins called prions
May 2, 2019 - Even Doctors Can’t Navigate Our ‘Broken Health Care System’
May 2, 2019 - Study looks at the impact on criminal persistence of head injuries
May 2, 2019 - Honey ‘as high in sugars as table sugar’
May 2, 2019 - Innovations to U.S. food system could help consumers in choosing healthy foods
May 2, 2019 - FDA Approves Mavyret (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir) as First Treatment for All Genotypes of Hepatitis C in Pediatric Patients
May 2, 2019 - Women underreport prevalence and intensity of their own snoring
May 2, 2019 - Concussion summit focuses on science behind brain injury
May 2, 2019 - Booker’s Argument For Environmental Justice Stays Within The Lines
May 2, 2019 - Cornell research explains increased metastatic cancer risk in diabetics
May 2, 2019 - Mount Sinai study provides fresh insights into cellular pathways that cause cancer
May 2, 2019 - Researchers to study link between prenatal pesticide exposures and childhood ADHD
May 2, 2019 - CoGEN Congress 2019: Speakers’ overviews
May 2, 2019 - A new strategy for managing diabetic macular edema in people with good vision
May 2, 2019 - Sagent Pharmaceuticals Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Ketorolac Tromethamine Injection, USP, 60mg/2mL (30mg per mL) Due to Lack of Sterility Assurance
May 2, 2019 - Screen time associated with behavioral problems in preschoolers
May 2, 2019 - Hormone reduces social impairment in kids with autism | News Center
May 2, 2019 - Researchers synthesize peroxidase-mimicking nanozyme with low cost and superior catalytic activity
May 2, 2019 - Study results of a potential drug to treat Type 2 diabetes in children announced
May 2, 2019 - Multigene test helps doctors to make effective treatment decisions for breast cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - UNC School of Medicine initiative providing unique care to dementia patients
May 2, 2019 - Nestlé Health Science and VHP join forces to launch innovative COPES program for cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - Study examines how our brain generates consciousness and loses it during anesthesia
May 2, 2019 - Transition Support Program May Aid Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes
May 2, 2019 - Study shows how neutrophils exacerbate atherosclerosis by inducing smooth muscle-cell death
May 2, 2019 - Research reveals complexity of how we make decisions
New software helps analyze writing disabilities

New software helps analyze writing disabilities

New software helps analyze writing disabilities
Credit: iStock

Nearly 10% of elementary school students have trouble learning to write, with potentially lasting consequences on their education. EPFL researchers have developed a software program that can analyze these children’s writing disabilities and their causes with unparalleled precision.

Trouble learning how to write, called dysgraphia, affects some 10% of schoolchildren. This learning disability is often associated with dyslexia and can appear in children to varying degrees, with causes that can differ from one child to the next. A team of researchers at EPFL’s Computer-Human Interaction in Learning and Instruction Laboratory (CHILI) has developed software that enables doctors to make highly detailed, personalized assessments of this disability and to accurately identify the letters and numbers that are most difficult and are thus the most discriminative. Their research has just been published in Nature Digital Medicine.

Writing is an essential skill for schoolchildren, but it requires an adroit combination of careful concentration, well-developed motor skills and good language comprehension – something that not all children possess. And although writing problems may appear trivial at first, if they are not treated early on, they could quickly snowball into more serious conditions like a lack of confidence, low self-esteem, trouble learning other skills, a high level of fatigue and even behavioral problems. Early detection is therefore key.

In French-speaking countries, dysgraphia is currently diagnosed using a standardized writing test called BHK. Ergotherapists or psychomotor therapists use the test to assess a child’s handwriting according to 13 criteria. But according to Thibault Asselborn, a Ph.D. student at CHILI and lead author of the study, the BHK test is limited. “It relies entirely on a therapist’s own observation and is therefore subjective. And it can be six months or more between when a teacher first becomes concerned about a child’s writing skills and when the child is finally taken to a specialist.”

Example of a disgraphic child’s handwriting. Credit: Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne

Analyzing over 50 different characteristics

The test developed at EPFL, called Tegami, which is run using a tablet computer, represents a major step forward in terms of analytical precision and accuracy of input. It was developed from a database of writing samples from 300 children, around 25% of whom suffered from dysgraphia. The program was able to detect the learning disability 98% of the time.

The big advantage of Tegami is that it can help pinpoint the cause of a child’s dysgraphia because it analyzes no fewer than 53 different characteristics of a child’s writing, which are measured up to 200 times per second. These characteristics include the angle of the pen, the amount of pressure the child applies to the tablet, how fast the child writes and any changes in that speed, whether the child’s hand trembles and if so, with what frequency, and which letters or characters are most discriminative.

A dynamic assessment

“Our software brings a dynamic aspect to the evaluation of a child’s writing. The BHK test lets therapists evaluate a writing sample only after it’s been written. But with Tegami, therapists can analyze the entire writing process and get a clear, comprehensive picture of all of a child’s movements,” says Thomas Gargot, a child psychiatrist, expert in cognitive science, Ph.D. student in computer science at Pitié Salpêtrière teaching hospital in Paris and one of the study’s authors.

According to Gargot, the software also paves the way to classifying different kinds of dysgraphia. The new types of data it collects will enable pediatricians to determine whether there are writing disabilities associated with autism, hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder, and to better understand how teaching methods can be adapted accordingly.

Tegami should also help children with writing disabilities get more targeted treatment. The EPFL researchers are now working with psycho motor therapists and speech therapists to outline remedial measures; for example, if a child shows too much variation in the pressure he puts on his pen, his doctor can prescribe motor-skill exercises. The researchers are also looking into how they can combine Tegami with another program developed at CHILI called CoWriter, where children improve their skills and self-confidence by teaching a robot how to write.


Explore further:
Dyslexia—when spelling problems impair writing acquisition

More information:
Thibault Asselborn et al. Automated human-level diagnosis of dysgraphia using a consumer tablet, npj Digital Medicine (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41746-018-0049-x

Provided by:
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles