Scientists divulge new approach catch autism early

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Washington, Jan 25 : A new study at University of New South Wales has found that incorporating both psychological and biological factors helps in earlier detection of autism.

The study was related to autistic and Asperger's disorders, which are characterised by ritualistic behaviours such as counting, tapping, flicking, or repeatedly restating information and compulsive behaviours including as a rigid adherence to routine and a marked resistance to change.

"Until now we have relied mostly on psychological approaches in making a diagnosis, but this needs to be incorporated with the biological approach - utilising information from brain mapping technology," said Professor Florence Levy, lead author, from UNSW's School of Psychiatry.

"This may help medical professionals detect conditions such as Asperger's Disorder at an earlier stage,'" Levy added.

However, Levy also said that this may not help in preventing the disorder but can help in finding a cure.

"This won't prevent it from developing, but it will help with remediation. It will also help to provide explanations to parents, who may have been worried about their child's behaviour," she said.

The review also found that the psychological theories such as 'Theory of Mind' alone have difficulty in providing an explanation for the rigid and repetitive behaviours found in autistic disorders.

"When the developing brain encounters constrained connectivity, it evolves an abnormal organisation, the features of which may be best explained by a developmental failure of neural connectivity, where high local connectivity develops in tandem with low long-range connectivity, resulting in constricted repetitive behaviours," she writes.

The study appears in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.

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