2011-09-19

MRI Distinguished 90% of the Participants with Autism

Have not read the study but am confident that we can learn from CARD's summary. Biological markers for autism is a very hot research area. Those of us who long ago used to not pay as much attention to the very details of brain structure and functions as the more cognitivist psychologists did, are rapidly becoming avid readers of brain research. The more I worry about the changes in diagnostic guidelines, and before that, about how often large slices of the population of kids with autism is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, period, the more I expect from this research to answer our questions about what autism is. The old puzzle piece and metaphor got old, overused, and attached to canned and emotional statements about causes and how to, and reasons to, treat. But it is still so puzzling. Anyone with a better symbol that we could adopt?


"The results revealed that the participants with ASD and the participants with typical development could be distinguished with up to 90% accuracy based on differences in the volumes of gray matter in specific regions of the brain. The most significant brain regions identified in this study included the posterior cingulate cortex, medial prefrontal cortex, and bilateral medial temporal lobes. These areas of the brain make up the default mode network, which is responsible for internal processes like self-reflection. Moreover, a relationship was identified between ASD severity and the volume of gray matter in posterior cingulate cortex, again a region of the default mode network."

The youngest participant was 8, which is really very far from an acceptable age when we would like to have a flag. But we have to start research somewhere!