The rate of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has increased greatly in recent years, but many children still go undiagnosed. Fortunately, new research published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders has found that a non-invasive eye scan could potentially revolutionize by helping detect autism in children earlier.
The process consists of an electroretinogram (ERG) eye scan which detects a potential biomarker for neurodevelopmental disorders. Researchers from Yale University, University College London, and Great Ormond Street Hospital collaborated to analyze the scans of 90 adolescents with ASD and 87 without to asses its ability to detect ASD.
So how does it detect autism? The device looks for a pattern of electrical signals in the retina that are unique to children on the autism spectrum. This is critical because it can detect autism before children start displaying behavioral signs, meaning treatment for these children can begin earlier.
The researchers have primarily used the scans on teens, but they anticipate the process to be equally as effective in younger children, potentially even in infants. When one child is diagnosed with ASD, the chances of subsequent children also being diagnosed increases. This test could be immediately effective for early detection in the younger siblings of autistic children.
Early diagnosis gives parents the chance to make decisions early on about how to address their child’s condition and potentially begin beneficial therapies earlier. Early detection is a primary tool to allow parents to provide kids with the greatest opportunities to succeed.