Researchers remark that a major challenge that comes with assessing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is that there is no “objective” way to diagnose the disease based on biomarkers — that is, to say, “Well, his levels of X were very high, so we he definitely has ASD.” Instead, clinicians have to rely on behavioural assessments that can be subjective. In a recent study from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, researchers used QEEG brain scans as a step towards better diagnosing ASD.
From the press release:
Forty-three ASD children aged 6 to 17 were presented with either a simple auditory tone, a visual image (red circle), or a tone combined with an image, and instructed to press a button as soon as possible after hearing the tone, seeing the image or seeing and hearing the two stimuli together. Continuous EEG recordings were made via 70 scalp electrodes to determine how fast the children’s brains were processing the stimuli.
According to the researchers, there was a strong correlation between the amount of time it took participants to process auditory (but not visual) signals and the severity of their ASD symptoms. “This finding is in line with studies showing that, in people with ASD, the microarchitecture in the brain’s auditory centre differs from that of typically developing children,” said lead author Sophie Molholm in the release.
In an email to Science of Us at NYMAG.com, Molholm expanded: Our work shows that measuring brain activity with EEG has great potential for use in the diagnosis of autism.
Some of the research that we plan to pursue includes using these biomarkers to test whether targeted therapeutic interventions regulate sensory processing and improve multisensory integration in autism; testing if these biomarkers are applicable in even younger children with autism; and measuring the relationship of additional EEG measures of brain function and symptoms of autism.
The Listen And Learn Centre has the technology to undertake brain scans using QEEGs and ERPs tools to study Autism and ADHD biomarkers. The centre also undertakes pre versus post intervention brain scans to demonstrate the efficacy of the interventions undertaken at the Centre including Neurofeedback, Auditory Training program and Cellfield interventions.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine has released a video on their work