Brain Scans Show Distinct Traits in Kids With Autism:
FRIDAY, Sept. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers using scanning
technology say they discovered physical differences in the brains
of older children with autism compared to those of kids without
"We could discriminate between typically developing and autistic children with 92 percent accuracy," based on the volume of gray matter in one part of the brain, Lucina Uddin, first author of a new study and instructor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, said in a university news release.
However, there are some limitations to the study. The
researchers only looked at kids aged 8 to 18, and they didn't
capture images of the children's brains before they were diagnosed
with autism. And the findings don't appear to have an immediate
effect on how children with autism are diagnosed or treated.
The study authors reached their findings after comparing MRI
scans of the brains of 24 children with autism with those of 24
children the same age who had developed normally.
The investigators found that the children with the disorder who
had the most difficulty communicating with others had the biggest
differences in the structures of their brains compared to other
In the United States, about one in 110 children has autism, a
developmental disorder that interferes with language skills, social
interactions and self-awareness. The traditional method of
diagnosing an autism spectrum disorder is through observation and a
variety of tests.
Commenting on the findings, Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of
developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Steven and Alexandra
Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, said that the study
doesn't affect diagnosis or treatment of autism. Still, it marks a
step toward understanding how autism develops, he added.
"What might be helpful, in theory, is that if a child is born as a sibling in a family with an increased risk for autism . . . to know in advance if that person is indeed going to have autism," said Adesman. "Maybe one could intervene sooner," he noted.
The study appears in the Sept. 2 online edition of the journal
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
signs of autism.
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