Scientists at Wake Forest School of Medicine have taken the first step in developing an objective, brain-based test to diagnose autism.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the team was able to measure the response of autistic children to different environmental cues by imaging a specific part of the brain involved in assigning value to social interactions.
Findings from the study are published in the current online edition of the journal Biological Psychology.
“Right now, a two- to four-hour session by a qualified clinician is required to diagnose autism, and ultimately it is a subjective assessment based on their experience,” said the study’s principal investigator, Kenneth Kishida, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist Health.
“Our test would be a rapid, objective measurement of the brain to determine if the child responds normally to social stimulus versus non-social stimulus, in essence a biomarker for autism.”
Read the full story.