New scan could diagnose autism in 15 minutes

Brain scan being developed by British scientists could also lead to earlier detection of autism

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Researchers from King’s College London have created a programme that can analyse the shape of the brain with 90% accuracy and determine if a patient suffers from autism or not. This means children could be diagnosed much earlier, which would allow for more effective treatment.

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“This is a really big step forward,” said Professor Declan Murphy, who led the research.

“We aim to have earlier and cheaper diagnosis of children.

“It’s an objective and not subjective test, rapid and cheap. I was really pleased at how accurate it was.”

Autism, or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a lifelong condition that affects about half a million people in the UK.

Until this new scan was developed, diagnosis has relied on a long process of gathering accounts from those close to the patient, before a team of experts then interpret the information. It’s believed that this scan could revolutionise the task of diagnosing autism.

“This study gives an insight into the way people with autism process and understand the world around them, which is particularly valuable,” said Carol Povey, director of the National Autistic Society’s Centre for Autism.

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“While further testing is still required, any tools which could help identify autism at an earlier stage, have the potential to improve a person’s quality of life by allowing the right support to be put in place as soon as possible,” added Carol.

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