Normally autism in children is diagnosed at around ages two or three but studies have been done to try to predict autism before behavioral symptoms occur. University of North Carolina partnered with other universities to experiment with MRI machines to see if they could diagnose autism earlier than 24 months (2 years)
Autism is a big problem in our country and the rest of the world. About 3 million people have autism in the United States and millions more throughout the world. The study focused on hyper-expansion of brain surface area in children of 6-12 months of age. According to this article “Brain overgrowth was tied to the emergence of autistic social deficits in the second year.” They found that 8 out of 10 kids with a hyper-expanded brain as well as an autistic sibling would be diagnosed with autism in the future.
The fact that MRI’s can show enlarged surface area of the brain at such a young age is important in predicting whether or not a child will be later diagnosed with autism. This is an important experiment because if doctors can predict autism before symptoms occur there may be ways for them to intervene with brain growth before a child’s brain permanently has autism and behavioral changes occur at 24 months.