Presently, autism is diagnosed on the basis of observation and questionnaire, which is a combined effort from the medical and paramedical staff, teachers and parents.
While the incidence of autism seems to be on the rise, there is no definite diagnostic tool to confirm the existence of this disorder. A recent study may be able to throw some light in this respect.
Recently, researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital performed a study to find out a diagnostic tool for autism. The researchers, tried to study the use of a test called Electro Encephalogram (EEG), which is generally performed to study the brain functioning patterns.
They selected children with classic autism and other control subjects between the ages 2 to 12 years. The classic autism children had been suggested to perform EEG test by the neurologists to find out their brain functioning and the possibility of seizure disorder. The EEG reports of these children with classic autism were compared to other control subjects and the results were studied.
While it was difficult to get the EEG tests done from children with autism, the team of researchers used their techniques to get the recordings. They measured connectivity in the brain to study the synchronization of any two EEG signals. They repeated their study around 10 times, using different schemes like splitting their study subjects and grouping them differently.
As given in the BMC Medicine journal, the researchers found out that the EEG patterns of children with autism showed that there was altered or probably reduced brain connectivity as compared to the control subjects. This could possibly help in diagnosing autism as early as two years. The researchers are further planning to move their EEG pattern study towards other autism spectrum disorders like Asperger’s syndrome and Fragile X syndrome.