MRI’s play an important role in giving researchers answers to important questions when conducting a scientific study. A new MRI study that is the first of its kind has been focusing on predicting autism in high-risk kids. This study not only gave researchers the answers they were hoping for, but it also showed that MRI’s can possibly predict autism before the age of 1.
Background of Autism
Autism, also referred to as autism spectrum disorder, is a rage of mental conditions that can be characterized by challenges with various social and behavioral skills. Because there is such a broad spectrum of types of autism, genetics and other environmental factors play an important role in diagnosing this disease.
According to CDC, autism can be found in 1 of every 68 children in the United States. Since the most obvious signs appear when a child reaches the age of 2 or 3, MRI studies can help better predict autism and address it earlier.
This MRI study focuses on detecting early signs of autism in infants with siblings who are autistic. Previous MRI studies show that brain size of infants are growing the fastest between the ages of 12 and 24 months which is also when the signs of autism might appear. These scans not only showed brain enlargements but more specifically enlargement in specific regions of the brain.
The first-of-its-kind study scanned over 100 high-risk infants’ brains and looked for overgrowth, one of the early signs for autism. After analyzing the data they found from studying the infants, the researchers found that 81% of autism diagnoses were predicted correctly by using MRI machines.
While parents shouldn’t rely solely on MRI predictions, this study shows how these scans can help diagnose autism early. Considering there is a broad spectrum of the types of autism a child can have, this MRI study focused on predicting the disease before the age that signs may show.
We love how MRI studies can help give important answers to families and physicians!