Thursday, February 24, 2011

Clinic Notes: Diagnosing Autism Redux

Every clinician knows that the earlier autism is diagnosed and treatment started the better. Unfortunately, autism is not diagnosed until the child is between 2 and 3 and a delay in language sends up the autism flag. Recently at Children's Hospital in Boston researchers using brainwave data from an electroencephalogram (EEG) and a high tech computer analysis were able to correctly identify 9-month old infants who were likely to develop autism with a 80% success rate. Of course, this diagnostic tool must be replicated with another sample of infants, but the results sound promising. The next problem will be in getting the insurance companies to pay for services for a nine-month old infant who statistically has a chance of developing autism.