Friday, December 03, 2010

Brain scan could help with autism diagnosis

A test which can diagnose autism accurately could help children with the condition get help and support as soon as possible. Researchers from McLean Hospital in Boston and the University of Utah used MRI scans to look at how people's brains worked in a study of 60 men and boys aged between eight and 26. Half of the participants had 'high-functioning' autism and half were unaffected. The study found that the participants with autism had differences in their superior temporal gyrus and their temporal stems - areas which are involved with language, emotion and social skills. In autistic participants the white matter fibres in the superior temporal gyrus were more organised on the right-hand side but it was the other way around for unaffected people. The test had an accuracy rate of 94% which is very good compared to other methods although the participants were much older than the usual age for diagnosing autism which is around three.

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