Researchers one step closer to potential autism test
December 2nd, 2010
12:00 AM ET

Researchers one step closer to potential autism test

Scientists are finding more pieces of the autism puzzle of with the help of MRI scans of brain circuitry, according to a study published Thursday online in the journal Autism Research.

By scanning the brain for 10 minutes using magnetic resonance imaging, researchers were able to measure six physical differences of microscopic fibers in the brains of 30 males with confirmed high-functioning autism and 30 males without autism.

The images of the brains helped researchers correctly identify those with autism with 94 percent accuracy, says Nicholas Lange, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and one of the study authors.

"No one has measured what we measured," says Lange of the MRI test he and Dr. Janet Lainhart from the University of Utah developed.

While previous studies using different types of scans have been able to identify people with autism, Lange says, "no one has looked at it [the brain] the way we have and no one has gotten these type of results."

Lange is quick to caution that this type of test is not yet ready for prime time. "We do not want to give anyone false hopes that this is ready for the clinic yet. This method, this test, needs to be tried [and confirmed] with many more subjects outside our laboratory," he says.  Plus, the research needs to be expanded to many more study participants and tried on younger people with autism and those who are not as high-functioning as the subjects in this first trial.

Using the MRI, the study authors measured how the water in the brain flows along the axons or nerve fibers in the parts of the brain that control language, social and emotional functioning.  The scans revealed that the wiring of the brains of those with autism was disorganized compared with the brains of a typical person without autism. This is how they could determine which brains scans belonged those study participants with autism.

The study included only males between the ages of 7 and 28 because they were part of a bigger research project at the University of Utah, which is following males with autism for a longer period. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 1 in 110 children in the United States have an autism spectrum disorder and boys are far more likely to have this neurological disorder that affects language and social behavior – that number is about 1 in 70.  However future studies will include girls too.

Currently there's no biologic test for autism, so pediatricians look to see if a child is meeting certain developmental milestones as well as signs and symptoms of autism. (The advocacy group Autism Speaks has posted videos to help parents see the signs of autism)

The earlier a child has been identified as having autism, the earlier behavioral therapies can be applied to lessen the impact of the disorder later in life.  Lange believes this brain scans can be done on younger children, as long as they can go to sleep in the scanner – on their own, without sedation (because you can't move during the test).

Carissa Cascio, an assistant professor of psychiatry from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, who specializes in autism and neuro-imaging, believes these study results are important. But she cautions that using this method as a true diagnostic tool to detect autism in a child is "a long way off." "What this paper seems to be doing is taking the first steps towards parlaying what we are able to glean from brain imaging into potential diagnostic tools."

Zachary Warren, who is the director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD), says since there are many types of autism, "it becomes very challenging to capture all these differences with one test." Still he believes this is new study can help pinpoint the earliest markers of concern in developing brains.

soundoff (220 Responses)
  1. FicoF

    cialis how long does it last costs of viagra vs cialis cialis directions / cialis super active generic

    May 21, 2021 at 21:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. FicoF

    is generic cialis from india safe cheap cialis online pharmacy brand cialis online / cialis price rite aid

    May 22, 2021 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. tausAffessy

    buy cialis pills where to buy cialis without prescription generic tadalafil from uk tadalafil blood pressure https://tadacipetadalafil.com/ – tadalafil order online no prescription

    May 25, 2021 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. brimonidine

    combigan eye drops generic buy generic brimonidine

    May 25, 2021 at 19:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Tembepteriope

    buy generic cialis online with mastercard tadalafil order online no prescription tadalafil goodrx side effects of tadalafil https://tadalafilol.com/ – cialis cost

    May 26, 2021 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Tembepteriope

    https://tadagatadalafil.com/ tadalafil side effects https://tadalafilol.com/ – generic tadalafil from uk buy tadalafil

    May 27, 2021 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. tausAffessy

    buy tadalis https://cttadalafil.com/ – cialis without a prescription side effects for tadalafil tadalafil generic where to buy https://apcalisetadalafil.com/

    May 27, 2021 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. vietnam curacao

    Coi Trực Tiếp đá Bóngtrực tiếp bóng đá lưuTheo thể thức thi đấu, đội thắng ở cặp đấu này sẽ giành tấm vé đến Lithuania vào ngày hội bóng đá lớn nhất thế giới đến futsal. Tuyển futsal Việt Nam bước vào trận play-off lượt đi tranh vé dự play-off World Cup 2021 với sự tự tin. Tuy vậy, HLV Phạm Minh Giang bày tỏ, toàn đội ko ngán Lebanon tuy nhiên sẽ tìm cách để khắc chế sức mạnh của đối thủ bởi bên trên băng ghế huấn luyện là nhà cầm quân Ramiro Lopez, người từng dẫn dắt futsal Tây Ban Nha.|Dựa vào lịch tranh tài, quý khách hoàn toàn có thể sắp xếp việc làm


    June 11, 2021 at 00:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. lịch thi đấu tứ kết asian cup 2019

    Trực Tiếp Soccer Việt Nam Vs Lebanon. Xem Truc Tiep Bong Da. Futsal Việt Namxem thvl1Nếu cứ nghịch như cơ hội vừa đè bẹp Everton tới 3-1 trên sảnh khách hàng


    June 15, 2021 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. pharmaceptica

    hydroxychloroquine 200 mg twice a day https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 21:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. best cbd gummies for pain

    Looking forward to reading more. Great post. Really Cool.


    June 30, 2021 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.