Now that we know so much about how important early detection of autism is, more research that helps! –
Infants with particular patterns of electrical activity in the brain go on to have high levels of autism traits as toddlers, a new study shows.
Specifically, babies who have unusually high or low synchrony between certain brain waves — as measured by electroencephalography (EEG) — at 3 months old tend to score high on a standardized scale of autism-linked behaviors when they are 18 months old. These levels of synchrony reflect underlying patterns of connectivity in the brain.
The findings suggest that EEG could help clinicians identify autistic babies long before these children show behaviors flagged by standard diagnostic tests.
The work “reinforces the concept and the truism that brain development is affected before autism diagnoses are made,” says lead researcher Shafali Spurling Jeste, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles. “We believe that we could work to start rewiring the brain if we intervene effectively and early enough. That message, quite simply, is a very important one.”