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Functional neuroimaging of high-risk 6-month-old infants predicts a diagnosis of autism at 24 months of age

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Science Translational Medicine  07 Jun 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 393, eaag2882
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aag2882

Predicting the future with brain imaging

In a new study, Emerson et al. show that brain function in infancy can be used to accurately predict which high-risk infants will later receive an autism diagnosis. Using machine learning techniques that identify patterns in the brain’s functional connections, Emerson and colleagues were able to predict with greater than 96% accuracy whether a 6-month-old infant would develop autism at 24 months of age. These findings must be replicated, but they represent an important step toward the early identification of individuals with autism before its characteristic symptoms develop.

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