Scanning the language centers of the brain may help doctors objectively diagnose patients with autism, according to a researchers from Colombia University.
Researchers scanned the brain activity of 15 control children and 12 autistic children using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while the patients listened to recordings of their parents speaking to them, and found that autistic children showed reduced rates of activity in the superior temporal gyrus, a part of the brain associated with sentence comprehension.
"This study suggests that fMRI acquired during listening to a language narrative can be used to distinguish children with autism from those without," said Dr. Joy Hirsch, a professor at Columbia University Medical Center and director of the Functional MRI Laboratory.
Autism is a spectrum disorder characterized by repetitive behaviors and impaired language, communication and social interactions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that as many as one in every 110 children is affected by autism.
The condition is generally diagnosed by parent and clinician observation of missed milestones in childhood development, according to the release.
"The need for an early, objective diagnosis is enormous," Hirsch said.
Here’s a roundup of recent clinical trial and scientific study news:
Vycor Medical Inc. (OTC:VYCO) touted positive results from its first trial of its ViewSite device, a minimally invasive tubular retraction system for access to deep-seated tumors in pediatric patients.
The study involved 4 pediatric patients who underwent surgery for deep-seated brain lesions, a condition which is generally considered inoperable, according to the release.
Access was achieved in all four patients, and no new neurological damage was observed after the procedure.
Medicine and technology will converge in five key places in the near future, according to Atam Dhawan, an electrical engineer and associate dean of the New Jersy Institute of Technology’s Albert Dorman Honors College, who will present his predictions at the upcoming 33rd IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Annual International Conference in Boston in August.
The hot spots to watch for are 1) point of care technologies ranging from health monitoring to telemedicine; 2) optical imaging technologies for diagnosing and staging cancer; 3) bioelectronics, bio-nano-sensor technology and neural engineering; 4) tissue engineering and regenerative medicine; and 5) medical and bio-robots.