Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Clinic Notes: Brain Imaging and Autism

There is no biological marker for diagnosing autism as there is for other chronic disorders. This makes research more difficult because we are not sure if our “autism group” is “contaminated” by children with other neurological disorders. Treatment is not hampered so much because these kids need treatment no matter the diagnosis and at this point treatment is pretty much the same for different neurological disorders—treat the symptoms. Researchers at Stanford are using a new Mri technology called called "multivariate searchlight classification." In this method the brain is divided into a three-dimensional grid, and each cube of the brain is examined for its volume of gray matter. Hopefully, this procedure will allow a diagnostically useful comparison between normally developing children and children with autism. Of course, the cost of diagnosis will be phenomenal.

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