Study suggests brain scans can identify autism in young babies

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The Guardian features an article about a research study which suggests that brain scans of babies aged between 6 and 12 months can identify children who then go on to be diagnosed as autistic. 

The research examined brain scans of babies who had an older brother or sister diagnosed as autistic. It found that certain features were associated with scans from babies who were later diagnosed as autistic as young children. The researchers hope that the finding will result in earlier diagnosis and interventions for young children.

What are your thoughts on using a tool such as part of the diagnostic process? Do you think it could be useful in identifying children who may be not otherwise get a diagnosis until later?





Edited on February 23, 2017 - 9:07am


September 21, 2017 - 5:04pm

I think there is a lot the NHS could be doing to ensure early diagnosis of autism.  I don't think it will happen for monetary reasons however.

It should automatically happen that the child of an autistic parent is given testing whether that be genetic, brain scan, blood test etc.  Likewise when there is a sibling with autism.

Currently there is not even a system to 'red flag' children for watching when they present very early with issues such as speech difficulty that turn out to be due to ASD which is diagnosed very late.

Considering there is no early intervention for children who don't present with obvious issues (e.g. speech difficulty), you have to question what the outcome of such tests would be anyway.  The tragedy of so-called "high-functioning" individuals receiving no support has to be addressed.  Mainstreaming such children is often a disaster, no wonder there are high rates of suicide.