Sunday, September 12, 2010

Autism Test

Research has shown kids with autism who are treated at a young age perform better later in life. So, figuring it out as early as possible is extremely important. This symptom of autism mentioned in this article is nothing new, but if there is a way to make it into an accurate diagnostic test, that would be new. I am all for it as long as it's accurate and not freaking out a bunch of parents for no reason.

FROM ABC: A toddler's fixation on geometric patterns may be an early warning sign of autism, researchers found.

Children ages 14 to 42 months with autism spectrum disorder spent significantly more time watching repetitive moving geometric images when given the option to look at either those images or at kids dancing and doing other activities, reported Karen Pierce, of the University of California San Diego, and colleagues.

In fact, spending more than 69 percent of the time during the experiment looking at the geometric images held 100 percent positive predictive value for autism spectrum disorder, they wrote online in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

These results, which should be easy and inexpensive to replicate in the clinic, provide strong evidence that some infants at risk for an autism spectrum disorder begin life with an unusual preference for geometric repetition, the investigators suggested.

Toddlers who show such a preference would be excellent candidates for further developmental evaluation and possible early treatment, since enriching their environment has been shown to effectively improve brain structure and function, Pierce's group noted.

Basing diagnosis solely on social deficits that may not become obvious until children are older may miss some opportunity for intervention, they suggested in the paper.

The investigators used eye-tracking technology while showing a one-minute video to 37 toddlers with autism spectrum disorder, 22 with developmental delay, and 51 that appeared to be developing normally.

The video showed moving geometric patterns recorded from a screen saver on one side and children doing yoga and dancing on the other side.

As part of a larger study in which children were screened for developmental issues at well-baby visits, these toddlers had been diagnosed as young as 12 months.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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