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Earlier screenings provide fairly reliable predictions of autism in infants at six months to one year.

posted Feb 17, 2017, 5:06 PM by LD Teacher
I came across this interesting research report in the online magazine, The Scientist byBy Jef Akst
February 17, 2017. Given the importance of early intervention, it's encouraging to find that researchers are coming closer to uncovering which very young children are most likely to have autism that will manifest more clearly as they develop. I trust I have adequately documented the source.

"In a study of nearly 150 infants and toddlers, researchers compared MRI scans of children’s brains when they were six months, one year, and two years old. A computer then processed the six-month and one-year scans and managed to correctly predict which children would go on to receive an autism diagnosis. Among children in high-risk families, the algorithm correctly identified about 80 percent of the infants that went on to develop autism, according to the study published this week (February 15) in Nature.

“It’s been a continual goal of Autism Speaks and the autism community to drive the age of diagnosis to be as early as possible,” Mathew Pletcher, interim chief science officer at Autism Speaks, which partially funded the study, told STAT News. “Early diagnosis in autism does make a difference.” ..."the comparison of the six-month and one-year scans, and what the difference between these images said about how the brain was growing. During this period of time, the young brain’s surface grew faster in autism patients than in neurotypical children, causing it to develop more and deeper folds. ... [This difference] is a potential biomarker that could be used to identify those infants who perhaps could benefit from early stimulation,” Geraldine Dawson, a clinical psychologist and autism researcher at Duke University.

Quoted from http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/48524/title/Infant-Brain-Scans-May-Predict-Autism-Diagnosis/&utm_campaign=NEWSLETTER_TS_The-Scientist-Daily_2016&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=42864635&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_4w9f5Y-sJgJHIRfcNJifI5_m-Y7l5yakUjAyIuXMsxL3q3hgaYDzs0QpHv3N36_rj-7XvCeu28xa82wLtHEzz2ySRHA&_hsmi=42864635/