Autism disorders affect one in 110 children in the U.S.--or perhaps more--but the method of diagnosing the condition, which is characterized by difficulties socializing and communicating, among other behavioral and emotional problems, is largely subjective. Now, researchers may have finally found a way to objectively and scientifically diagnose the condition early, with 94 percent accuracy, using simple MRI brain scans.
In a test of 30 people with autism and 30 people without, the team was able to pick out the subjects with autism with 94 percent accuracy. A repeat of the same experiment with different subjects yielded the same results. It’s only a preliminary result, but the fact that it was repeatable bodes well for the diagnosis of a condition that has largely confounded scientists in the past. Larger studies will be conducted soon to see if this new MRI method could replace the current battery of subjective tests used to diagnose autism.