Toddler autism detected by brain trace
Scientists from Boston Children’s Hospital have suggested that a brain trace may be able to identify autism in children as young as two.
by Louise-Anne Geddes, Mindful Mum, 26th June 2012
The team, led by Frank Duffy who is a neurology specialist and associate professor at Harvard Medical School believe that EEG traces could potentially offer a diagnostic test for autism. In their trial of 1,304 children between the ages of one to 18, EEG was able to distinguish children with autism from their peers.
Of the children within the study, 463 children were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 571 children were neuro-typical controls. Within this, a sub sample of children between two and 12 were examined in depth. The analysis was conducted 10 times, splitting the study group in different ways. The researchers found that around 90% of the time, they were able to correctly identify children with autism using EEG.
Experts say that there is now scope for more work to confirm these findings, and the researchers now plan to repeat their study for children with Asperger’s Syndrome. Their study concluded that ‘classification success suggests a stable coherence loading pattern that differentiates ASD from control group subjects. This might constitute an EEG coherence-based phenotype of childhood autism. The predominantly reduced short-distance coherences may indicate poor local network function. The increased long-distance coherences may represent compensatory processes or reduced neural pruning. The wide average spectral range of factor loadings may suggest over-damped neural networks’.
Source: BMC Medicine, A stable pattern of EEG spectral coherence distinguishes children with autism from neuro-typical controls – a large case control study, 26th June 2012
Photography: RichardStep.com @Flickr