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Monday, 1 July 2013

Diagnosing autism using salience network analysis.

If autism can be detected by brain mapping at a very young age (under 6 months) which seems highly likely given recent advances in salience networking (sensory nerve connectivity brain imaging data analysis) this is hugely exciting for parents and carers of autistic children because it offers earlier scientific answers to the years of concern, anguish and worries such as why their child is always playing alone, cannot tie their shoelaces by age four, or cannot structure their sentences as fluidly or quickly as children of a similar age. At the moment, traditional approach to autistic diagnosis involves intensive and emotionally charged interviewing of child and parents along with years of anguish and heartache as teachers and fellow parents may try to explain unusual behaviors with a variety of confusing and hotchpotch hypotheses.

Hyperconnection between neural pathways is seen in brain imagery of autistic people, fact. However, a very highly connected brain can be associated with both autism and genius. Information overload resulting from hyperconnectivity can cause the intensity of vision, synesthesia (overlapping of sensory functions)and specific coping mechanisms like rocking and social withdrawal common in both. With further research and work in specific areas of overlap and connection it is very possible that we could actually discover areas of the brain that are predisposed to outstanding capabilities and I believe eventually map a path of promise for all autistic children to find an area in which they have a unique, if restricted potential for brilliance and genius.