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Can Brain Scans Discriminate Children with Autism from Children with Typical Development?

In a recent study, Dr. Lucina Uddin and colleagues found magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to accurately differentiate children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) from children with typical development based on volumes of gray matter in specific regions of the brain. While previous MRI studies have identified differences in the brain scans of children with ASD and children with typical development, there has been no real consensus regarding which distinctive neurological features can serve as reliable biological markers in the detection of ASD. This may stem from the fact that ASD is a heterogeneous disorder that likely affects the development of many areas of the brain. For this reason, Dr. Uddin and colleagues used MRI scans in an attempt to identify brain regions that together may differentiate children with ASD from children with typical development.

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