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Unique Brain Pattern Could Predict Autism in Youngest Children

Posted by on Jun. 27, 2013 at 11:05 AM
  • 12 Replies

I was just reading an article on Time Magazine that said that scientists found stronger connections within many critical brain networks in the autistic children, including those responsible for introspection, vision and movement.  

It also said that they also saw more robust links in networks that help the brain to triage the flood of incoming information from both our bodies and our environment that assaults us constantly. Called the salience network, it’s responsible for determining which internal or external sensations need our immediate attention. Using a computer program that the researchers developed to make sense of the brain imaging data, they found that by mapping the salience network alone, they could accurately classify autistic or non-autistic children in their study 78% of the time — and could do so 83% of the time using data from other researchers.

The findings suggest that from an early age, children with autism develop differently from those without the condition, and that these changes may be detectable through brain imaging.

What do you think?  Is this good news?  Has your child had brain imaging done?

by on Jun. 27, 2013 at 11:05 AM
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by Bronze Member on Jun. 27, 2013 at 11:14 AM

I could see how this would be great for people with a family history, but not as a routine test. My son's original pediatrician wanted to give him a CAT scan at 12 months because his head was big. My husband's head is large, so it's most likely genetic. I didn't want to put him to sleep for a CAT scan just for a big head. Even if we did get him scanned, they wouldn't have seen anything. The pediatric neurologist who saw him said there was nothing wrong with him, and that his development was fine... Ha! It could be a good thing, but it also comes with risks.

by on Jun. 27, 2013 at 8:45 PM

 We had it done at 12mo and I say absolutely yes it is possible.

by on Jun. 27, 2013 at 8:53 PM

Is it a good thing?  Yes, anything that makes diagnosing autism or getting kids prescreened for diagnoses at a very early age, is a good thing.  Because then the therapies are available to them earlier and with "physical diagnostic proof" then the insurance companies and school districts can't wiggle out of providing services as easily.  So yes, all of that is good. 

If they can take that information and work backwards to figure out what might be causing the brain to develop differently then yes, that's a good thing too.  But I would hate to see them focus only on the cause and not on the potential treatments that might stem from better understanding what brain-wiring misadventures are leading to what behavior issues or delays.  Kids and adults with autism are so SO different in their strengths, weaknesses, likes, intolerances, etc. when it comes to sensory input and the ability to process it well.  Obviously there is no "one size fits all" autistic brain and the subtle differences in how the brain is connected can result in widely varying ranges of ability and disability. 

So.  Interesting for diagnostic purposes? You bet your ass.  Great for potentially making services available sooner and easier with less pushback from insurance and the schools?  Fuck yeah.  Leading to potential therapies and treatments?  Seems a bit weak on this front. 

by on Jun. 28, 2013 at 3:12 PM

We're still too new to this for me to think I have an informed opinion, but anything that helps a child's issues get correctly identified earlier and more precisely sounds like an advancement to me. Thanks for sharing.

by Darby on Jun. 28, 2013 at 8:43 PM

My son has had 2 MRIs on his brain.  Revealed enlarged ventricles, hyper myelination, overall lack of brain matter, and scars all over his brain.

by on Jun. 28, 2013 at 11:02 PM

goes back to my thought.... "it's a wiring issue"

by Carissa on Jun. 28, 2013 at 11:11 PM

I think it's a good thing. My son has not had imaging done.

by on Jun. 29, 2013 at 7:05 AM

 I saved a Time magazine from YEARS ago with the brain comparison of a normal and then an autistic brain. The story was so fascinating to me. D has not had any such thing done...I just wouldn;t understand the point in it if it couldn't help him.

by Member on Jul. 1, 2013 at 11:14 PM

my little guys mri just came back at age 5 with lots of bright white spots on his scan.  

They are doing lots of tests now.  

It took me years to get this done because the dr just kept saying he could just have a big head.  When they measure it, it is abnormally large.  My dh has a big head but not like my son's.  

Nick's autism was diagnoised by primary care at 9 months and offcially around 12 months by a dev ped and had therapy by 18 months.  

by on Nov. 11, 2013 at 1:42 PM

How would I go about getting my 12 yr old autistic son brain scan done?....I think by finding out which part of the brain and how different it functions is info that can be very valuable to making choices as to what therapies to do.Can you think of any ways or things to say to doc. to make him do one?

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