This new eye scan can identify autism in children years before then it shows its typical symptoms. It is a completely non-invasive eye examination that uses only a handheld diagnostic device that finds exclusive electric signals in retina part of the eye. This pattern is usually different in children as to autism spectrum which shows the development of the brain in young kids.
This new scan was tried and tested on 180 people that were diagnosed with autism as well as healthy individuals. The age range of these people was between 5 and 21 years. This study was completed as a joint venture of Yale University (USA), University College London (UK) and Great Ormond Street Hospital (UK) and is published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
Diagnosing the potential biomarker for autism spectrum disorder in children would also promote early diagnoses of other diseases in children such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Dr. Paul Constable from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University is studying biomarkers for autism for the last 14 years. His aim is to improve the diagnostic skill and treatment method of autism spectrum disorder. He started working on this after his own kid was diagnosed with it. Dr. Constable says;
“The retina is an extension of the brain, made of neural tissue and connected to the brain by the optic nerve, so it was an ideal place to look.”
Early diagnosis of the disease is helpful for the children as it is a significant intervention. It also empowers families of the affected kid and supports them with terms of early diagnosis and improved treatment options and facilities.
Dr. Constable and his research team are also studying the same scan for its efficacy in young kids so that autism and other diseases such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, could be improved. He said:
“Now we have found a likely candidate biomarker for autism, the next stage is to look at young children, even infants, as the earlier we can get to intervention stages the better.”
Dr. Constable and his fellow researchers often experience interacting with parents who have autism affected kids. When there is more than one kid suffering from autism spectrum disorder in the same family, the chances for second and third kid gets higher to suffer from it. In most of the countries, autism is diagnosed at three or four years of age in children.
The early diagnosis of autism in a firstborn kid is a sign for the parents. They should decide whether or not they want more kids as they would be at a higher risk of autism too. There is plenty of research that tells an increased chance of autism in second and third borns if the firstborn kid has autism.
Dr. Constable says; “Detection inevitably changes family dynamics and goals, and creates consideration about the time required to help the child.” He further adds that; “Very early diagnosis means not only can children receive important interventions, but families are empowered to get the necessary supports in place, come to terms with the diagnosis, and make informed decisions.”