Researchers May Be Able to Identify Autism Brain Waves Through New Analysis
Researchers may now be able to identify brain patterns connected with autism, through a new technique that allows them to analyze raw data collected through studies using electroencephalography, or EEG. EEG is a non-invasive method of brain imaging that relies on electrodes attached to the scalp, which record brain signals as a person completes a task.
As noted in a report by Spectrum News.org, most EEG studies are small, with fewer than 40 participants. Larger studies are limited, since they would need to compare findings across many different types of tasks. The new “mega-analysis” technique would address these limitations by accounting for differences in protocols and hardware across experiment sites.
According to Spectrum’s report, the researchers used the new technique to analyze 1,155 EEG recordings from 17 studies at six sites. They accounted for blinking, which can disrupt the EEG, and for electrodes that malfunctioned during recording. They also isolated brain signals that might result from tasks occurring back to back. The researchers then found patterns in one person’s recording, and compared how different people’s brains responded to tasks across many recordings and studies. To verify the validity of their technique, they several previous EEG single study findings.
The researchers believe their new “mega-analysis” technique can helps scientists make more informed and decisive conclusions about brain functioning.