The medical community has begun a study that would lead to a test that could detect autistic symptoms before autism is diagnosed. The MRI-based test is performed on sleeping infants and toddlers, and measures how the sleeping children respond to spoken words.
During the study, researchers would read bedtime stories to children with autism and without. A team would monitor exactly which parts of the brain were being activated. Amongst the autistic children, there was a greater response in the right hemisphere of the brain than the left.
Study author Lisa Eyler said: “We’re focusing on this earliest time period, when the brain is still developing and still changing. If we could use this with other markers, we could probably identify people early on and, if we could do that, we’d have a much better chance of helping to make sure that their language development is normal.”
However, the researchers pressed that the study was in a nascent state, and they had a long way to go before the test would be appearing in any clinics. They also said that the test would probably not be applicable for all children with autism. With the autism spectrum being so vast, they do not believe the test will be able to detect all abnormalities.
The other concern they have regarding the study, is making sure the test is specific to autism. Researchers are currently in the process of sorting the test out so they will know which developmental disability the test is detecting.
The International Center for Autism Research and Education (ICare4Autism) will continue to post news pertaining to this topic, as it is received, on www.icare4autism.org.