EEG test breakthrough offers hope for earlier diagnosis of autism in young children
Scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital, part of Harvard Medical School, have found in a study that EEG patterns showed that children with autism had altered connectivity between brain regions, reports Sciencedaily.com.
Researchers focused on children with “classic” autism, who were seeing a behavioural specialist and who traditionally were very hard to study because of the difficulty of getting reliable EEG recordings from them.
Using techniques developed at the Hospital, such as allowing the children to take breaks, the researchers were able to take clean waking EEG recordings that distinguished children with autism from neurotypical children. An EEG test records electrical activity in the brain using electrodes attached to the scalp.
Researchers believe their findings could lead to a reliable diagnostic test of autism at younger ages when behaviour tests were typically unreliable.
The hope is that early diagnosis could help parents adjust to the future and provide a child with more coping strategies. The researchers are now planning to repeat the study in children with Asperger’s syndrome.
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