BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Researchers at the University of North Carolina discovered that it might be possible for autism to be detected in babies before age 1. This would be the earliest diagnose of autism ever encountered.
The researchers performed MRI brain scans to babies and predicted with an 80 percent accuracy rate who of the babies with an older sibling suffering from autism would develop the disease later in life.
They performed brain scans at 6 months, 12 months, and then again at 2 years, and they noticed that the brain volume grew significantly during the first year of the life of those babies who would later classify as autistic. A few of the symptoms include not making eye contact, delayed speech, and other developmental issues and delays.
The brain is one of the first things to look at which can signal if the child would develop autism at the age of 2. Also, statistics show the risk of having a child with autism is between 2 and 18 percent in parents who already have a first child diagnosed with the disease.
The study is experimental, so it is still a long way until MRI brain scans can be used as tests for autism. This testing method has been used only on children with a high risk of developing autism, so the researchers are not sure if it is effective in detecting the disease in children that come from healthy families with no signs of the disease in their history.
However, this discovery is a big step in the treatment of the disease. The earlier it can be detected, the easier it is for the doctors to provide treatment and therapy as quickly as possible. Also, if treatment starts early in an infant’s life, his social and communication skills have more chances to improve more quickly.
The researchers explained that, if they were able to identify autism before it even occurred and at a time when the brain was more malleable and easy to change, the progress would be amazing. Until a few years ago, the average age at which autism was diagnosed was 4.
A diagnose occurring as early in life as possible can bring much progress in the treatment and therapy of the disease and can greatly improve the behavior of autistic children.
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