MRI's Role In Revealing Autism

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The National Autism Society developed a comprehensive plan several years ago to increase the general public’s awareness of autism. Even as one of the fastest growing disorders in the US, this complex developmental disorder is commonly misunderstood by most people.

The Facts on Autism

In summary, autism makes it more difficult for you to communicate and interact with others. Some signs that you or a loved one have autism are difficulty learning a language, making eye contact, holding a conversation, using reasoning,  poor motor skills, and narrow interests.

About 40 percent of children with autism are unable to speak.  This disorder has seen a significant increase over the past few years. While it is a treatable condition, early detection is important for treatment. With about 70 million people suffering for autism worldwide, informing the public about this disorder is vital to gain a better understanding of those who are autistic.

MRI’s Detect Early Autism In Babies and Young Children

Researchers at the University of North Carolina conducted an MRI study on the brains of babies six months to 1 year to predict early autism. This MRI study focused primarily on the infant having a sibling with autism. They were able to predict with great accuracy which babies would develop autism at an early age. The MRI’s scans showed swelling and increased growth of brain tissue in babies with autism in the first year.

Stanford University researchers also discovered that the brain’s gray matter in autistic children looked different.  There were noticeable differences in the structure of the brain. Did you know that one out of 150 children develops autism?  Autistic children develop white and gray matter in the brain that is larger in size than normal children. During early development, autistic children’s brains grow faster and develop more volume than other children.

The MRI scans measures the volume, surface area, and thickness of the brain in the cerebral cortex. Doctors  have discovered an overgrowth of brain tissue in infants with autism through these MRI brain studies. This is the outer layer of tissue that surrounds the brain. It has many wrinkles and creases in it.

We hope you take the month of April to learn more about autism! MRI’s play an important role in not only giving doctors answers about areas of concern, but also giving researchers the answers to help better diagnose various diseases and disorders.