Jun 16, 2019 | Updated: 11:54 AM EDT

Early Autism Diagnosis Study Reveals An Unexpected Outcome

Feb 22, 2017 12:17 AM EST

Young boys in wheelchairs participate in the first annual Disability Pride Parade on July 12, 2015 in New York City.
(Photo : Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Autism is a severe developmental problem that restricts the ability to interact and communicate. A recent study observes that autism can be detected at a very early age via diagnosis of the changes in the brain of a child, who already has an autistic sibling.

According to Forbes, changes in the brain of an infant as young as 2 years old can predict the advent of the disease in case there is autism affected elder sibling already in the family. The researchers imaged the brains of children at "high risk" for autism according to an older sibling's diagnosis and the brains of children who don't have any family history of autism. MRI's were performed when the children were 6, 12 and 24 months old, administering a diagnosis of autism at the age of 24 months and another that assesses social skills in the children.

The MRI scans included total brain volume, the thickness of the cortex (the outer part of the brain) and surface area of the cortex. Part of the analysis was done based on an algorithm to take the information from the MRI scan and predict which children would later be diagnosed with autism. The results showed that in the "high-risk" children, the dramatic growth of the brain volume at age 12-24 months can be a predecessor to be diagnosed with autism at 24 months. The algorithm predicted that 81 percent of the "high-risk" children could be diagnosed with autism.

According to Psych Central, the researchers found that 17 percent of the children who had an elder sibling with autism developed Autistic Syndrome Disease (ASD) and 28 percent showed delays in other areas of development or behavior like deficits in social-communication domain, extreme shyness with unfamiliar people and lower levels of eye contact and delayed pointing.  

The parents in such cases are suggested to be watchful about the children. Also, the early intervention can help to improve a child's outcome from the disease.

Experts are of the opinion that the children developing an atypical attitude can lead to autism in the later stages of life. The intervention approaches are to be done on the basis of each child's profile of strength and weaknesses and every family's goals and priorities.

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