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fMRI to diagnose autism?

Tuesday 31st May 2011
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    Autism could be better diagnosed through the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), new findings indicate.

    fMRI exams were performed on 15 control children and 12 language-impaired autistic children for the study, published in Radiology.

    By doing so, researchers were able to measure the neural activity in working brain tissues while the children listened to recordings of their parents talking to them.

    Activation levels during passive stimulation were measured in the primary auditory cortex and the superior temporal gyrus.

    Joy Hirsch, of Columbia University Medical Center, said: "With the extraordinarily high prevalence of autism, you would think there would be an objective diagnosis for the disorder.

    "However, the diagnosis of autism currently remains limited to parent and clinician observation of missed developmental milestones."

    In other news, a genetic link has been discovered between autism and epilepsy, according to scientists at the CHUM Research Centre in Montreal, Canada.

    Written by Angela Newbury

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