Hope for autism diagnosis
Electroencephalography (EEG), maps electrical activity along the scalp using electrodes, and could screen for autism as early as age two, a new study shows. The study, published in BMC Medicine on Tuesday, June 26, found 33 brain activity patterns specific to autistic kids that could be used in diagnosis.
“The brain works like a series of computers and they have to hook to one another through nerves in the brain in order to connect and function together,” study author Dr. Frank H. Duffy at Boston Children’s Hospital told Time.
“We can estimate from EEGs how well regions connect to one another. If there is high coherence between different regions of the brain, this indicates the brain is well connected.”
The study may offer hope for autism diagnosis, an complex condition which often goes undetected.
“In a recent survey we commissioned, 50 percent of people with autism and their families said it was difficult to get a diagnosis and 55% said the process took too long,” Caroline Hattersley of the National Autistic Society said.
Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. The current diagnostic criteria require that symptoms become apparent before a child is three years old.