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A simple test can detect early autism even in newborns

Researchers from the University of Miami and Harvard medical school have discovered a way to detect early signs of autism. 

Editor: Aigerim Akhmetova 

Translator: Tursunova Balkadisha 

Author: Bolysbek Dana 



As you know, the perception of hearing and other sensory systems in people with autism differs from those who do not have this disorder. 


Scientists studying the response to a standard hearing test conducted as a mandatory screening test by millions of newborns around the world have discovered a way to identify children at increased risk of developing autism. This test determines how well the child's inner ear and brain respond to sound by measuring the auditory response of the brain stem (ABR). During the test, the baby's auditory nerves are exposed to sounds transmitted by electrodes placed on their scalp. The test sound is very soft and can be performed while the babies are sleeping. 


The research team analyzed about 140,000 audio recordings of babies born in Florida and compared the data with records from the Florida Department of education indicating children with developmental disabilities. They eventually found that newborns who were later diagnosed with autism had slower brain responses to sounds during ABR tests. 


They found 321 children who were tested for the ABR test in infancy and who were diagnosed with autism in preschool. 


Autism spectrum disorder is known to be related to how children process sound, so even if a child has normal hearing, it can still be processed differently. Next, the researchers hope to add additional levels to ABR screening so that doctors can identify other developmental problems, such as speech, language disorders, and sudden infant death syndrome.