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International Health Insurance News: fMRI 'could diagnose autism earlier'

International health insurance customers could be interested to learn that a new technique for diagnosing autism earlier might soon be available.

Researchers from Columbia University in New York City have discovered that functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can detect certain differences between autistic children's brains and neurotypical children.

fMRI scans were conducted on 15 control children and 12 language-impaired and age-matched autistic children.

The results showed that activity within the A1 region of the brain did not differ between the two groups but activation within the STG was shown to be greater in the control group.

Dr Joy Hirsch who worked on the study commented: "This study suggests that fMRI acquired during listening to a language narrative can be used to distinguish children with autism from those without.

"Based on these initial findings, future studies using these or similar fMRI methods may result in an early and objective imaging indicator for autism."

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