A US team at Boston Children's Hospital say EEG traces could offer a diagnostic test for Autism.
Caroline Hattersley of The National Autistic Society said: "We welcome any research that may help us to understand autism better and improve diagnosis times for those with the condition. While further testing of EEG scans is still required, any tools that help identify autism at a younger age could potentially improve a person's quality of life by allowing the right support to be put in place earlier."
Electroencephalography (EEG) is the only current method of measuring brain activity that is safe for children and adults of all ages and medical conditions, and inexpensive enough to be used on a regular basis for routine checkups. Advances in hardware and new methods for finding complex patterns in brain waves may enable EEG to eventually become a practical tool for "brain checkups". No other current brain scanning technology is inexpensive and simple enough to have any hope of becoming a routine screening tool, no matter how good it might be in the laboratory.
"New EEG hardware may eventually enable a quick, safe, inexpensive, and practical way of capturing very early differences in brain organization and function, allowing early monitoring of brain development in children, just as we now monitor other developmental indicators. A deeper understanding of the relationship between neurophysiological processes and cognitive function may yield a new window to the mind and provide clinically useful psychiatric biomarkers." says Dr William Bosl, Harvard Medical School. "If this research (using EEG data analysis) leads to an early diagnostic method based on EEG alone, that could have tremendous implications for kids who have autism."