2 years ago2 views
Autism detectable in brain long before symptoms appear
Giving children brain scans, particularly those in high-risk families, could lead to children being diagnosed earlier.
"So it gives us a good target for when the brain differences might be happening for children at high risk of autism."
The study uncovered early differences in the part of the brain responsible for high level functions
like language - the cerebral cortex - in children who went on to be diagnosed with autism.
Dr Heather Hazlett, one of the researchers at the University of North Carolina, told the website: "Very early in the first year of life we see surface brain area differences,
that precede the symptoms that people traditionally associate with autism.
Carol Povey, director of the National Autistic Society’s Centre for Autism, said: "It’s possible
that MRI scanning of this type could be developed to help families who already have an autistic child to access earlier diagnosis for subsequent children.
"This would mean those children could receive the right support as early as possible."
However, she warned that autism was manifested in many different ways
and "no single test is likely to be able to identify potential autism in all children".
In the long run, it might be possible to do something similar for all infants if DNA
testing advances enough to become a useful tool to identify children at high risk.