How a brain scan could diagnose autism in NEUBORN: Studying compounds in the organ could make it clear whether a child has the disorder, according to a study
- Premature babies have an excessive number of nerve cells in the brain
- Can affect communication with neurons and has been linked to autism
- Newborns may someday be scanned for signs of developing the disorder
Scientists hope that a simple MRI scan one day could be enough to diagnose a baby with autism.
One study found that premature babies have excessive numbers of neurons and other structures in their cerebral cortex, the region of the brain that regulates mental function. These could be detected by a scan.
An excessive number of neurons in the brain can affect communication between nerve cells that has been linked to autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Babies born at full birth should "prune" these neurons during their mother's third trimester.
This could explain why autism occurs more often in premature adolescents.
The researchers hope that developing a map of these brain regions will enable them to someday examine the neonatal brain for signs of autism.
Scientists hope to create a brain map to diagnose autism in newborns (camp)
The research was carried out by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and by Dr. med. Hao Huang, a researcher in the Department of Radiology, headed.
"We used state-of-the-art methods to see the microstructure throughout the brain during a critical maturation phase," Dr. Huang.
"In addition to characterizing typical brain development, these measurements provide the opportunity to discover biomarkers of autism spectrum disorders at an age where early diagnosis and possibly early intervention is possible."
Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how a person communicates with and interacts with others.
NHS statistics show that around one in every 100 people in the UK is affected.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 59 children in the United States are diagnosed with ASD.
Babies who were born 37 weeks ago may show more signs of ASD more frequently, the charity March of Dimes reports.
THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF AUTISM
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with autism have problems with the social, emotional and communicative abilities that normally develop before the age of three and persist throughout a person's life.
Specific signs of autism are:
- Reactions to smell, taste, appearance, feeling or noise are unusual
- Difficulty adjusting to routine changes
- The statements can not be repeated or repeated
- Difficulty expressing wishes with words or movements
- Can not talk about their own feelings or those of others
- Difficulties with caresses like hugging
- Be alone and avoid eye contact
- Difficulties with other people
- Can not point to objects or display objects when others point at them
The researchers wanted to find out whether abnormal brain connections, similar to autism patients, can be detected in babies.
They analyzed 76 newborns, some of whom had already been born 31 weeks, while others reached their full birth.
Using MRI scans, the scientists measured the cerebral cortex of the baby.
The cerebral cortex is the outer surface of the brain's brain halves and consists of about 20 billion nerve cells.
The scans measured water diffusion in the neonatal brain, indicating the structure and development of the vital organ.
Previous studies have relied on tissue samples from deceased infants, which only gives an indication of brain development in this particular area.
In contrast, MRI scans involve the entire cerebral cortex.
Water diffusion detects the random movement of H2O molecules, which is influenced by the presence of nerve cells and other structures in the brain.
If a baby does not adequately "circumcise" its brain in the womb, excessive neurons may remain.
The results published in the journal PNAS showed a higher number of abnormalities in the brain of premature babies.
By recognizing these excessive nerve cells in premiums, researchers believe they could create a map that predicts autism in newborns.
Although promising, the researchers are stressing further studies to investigate whether these babies continue to be diagnosed with developmental disorders.
They are planning a follow-up study to see if one of the newborns has autism at the age of two.
The scientists also hope to put together a computer brain model that "ages" to show the change in organ structure over time and how this could be related to autism.