MRI Used to Predict Autism
The research by University of North Carolina Health Care, and released on February 15, 2017, used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in infants who had older siblings with autism. Researchers from across the USA were able to correctly predict 80 percent of those infants who would later meet criteria for autism at two years of age.
Brain Development Biomarkers
“Our study shows that early brain development biomarkers could be very useful in identifying babies at the highest risk for autism before behavioral symptoms emerge,” said senior author Joseph Piven, MD, the Thomas E. Castelloe Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
“Typically, the earliest an autism diagnosis can be made is between ages two and three. But for babies with older autistic siblings, our imaging approach may help predict during the first year of life which babies are most likely to receive an autism diagnosis at 24 months.”
How Do They Do MRI’s on Infants
Below is an excellent video by Birmingham Childrens Hospital explaining the process.
When babies and children under four go for an MRI scan it is usual for them to be placed under sedation as they find it difficult to lie still while the scan takes place. This video explains about the importance of following the starvation instructions you will have been sent with your MRI scan appointment letter and talks you through the entire process of what will happen on the day of the MRI scan.
Published in Nature, the study is the first to show that it is possible to identify which infants (among those who have older siblings that have autism) will be diagnosed with autism at two years of age.