More accurate autism tests developed

2010-12-02 19:35

kalahari.com

Chicago - US researchers are closing in on an accurate test for autism, a finding that could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment.

The test, which uses conventional magnetic resonance imaging or MRI machines, detected 94% of individuals with a high-functioning form of autism, they reported on Thursday.

"These results are the best yet in the search for a biological basis in terms of being able to distinguish those with and without the disease," said Nicholas Lange of Harvard Medical School, who directs the Neurostatistics Laboratory at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts.

He said the findings, published in the journal Autism Research, were very preliminary, but if confirmed in several more and larger studies, they might replace current subjective tests now used to diagnose the disorder.

And, he said, they might also lead to better management and treatment of people with autism, a complex and mysterious brain disorder usually first diagnosed in early childhood.

Brain circuitry

Autism is characterised by difficulties in social interaction, communication, and understanding other people's emotions and behaviour.

For the study, researchers at McLean and a team led by Dr Janet Lainhart the University of Utah used an MRI that was tuned to pick up microscopic features of the brain's wiring - a technique known as diffusion tensor imaging.

"You don't need any fancy equipment. This is performed around the world," Lange said in a telephone interview.

The team did scans of this type on the brains of 30 people with autism and 30 people without. They found that the brain circuitry is significantly different in those with autism compared to people with normal brain function, specifically in areas of the brain that are engaged in language and social and emotional functioning.

By measuring six aspects of the brain's circuitry, the test was able to correctly pick out people who had been diagnosed with autism with 94% accuracy.

A repeat study using two different sets of subjects showed the same high level of performance.

Lange said the findings should help make the process of diagnosing autism more scientific because it would rely on a test rather than a subjective assessment.

More boys affected

And it may also offer an early diagnosis, which could help affected children get earlier intervention, when it is most likely to do some good.

"The basis of autism in the brain is very deep. There may be very little that one can actually change about the disorder for an individual with a severe case," Lange said.

"However, it has been shown that in the early stages of development, individuals have been aided by intense one-on-one caring to help them with language, social function with their peers and also with emotional problems," he said.

Autism disorders are diagnosed in one in 110 children in the US and affect four times as many boys as girls.

Read more on:    health  |  research
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Saturday Cape Town - 12:40 PM
    Road name: M5 Southbound
    ACCIDENT at Kromboom Road
  • Friday Cape Town - 16:15 PM
    Road name: Wet Weather
    RAIN across the greater Cape Town area - drive with care and use headlights - Allow Extra Tavel Time
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9780

BlackBerry 6 Engage your world with BlackBerry 6 OS on the...

From R3049.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The day may have a fluctuating sensitive energy to begin with, but later when the Moon moves into dramatic and creative Leo you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.