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NPR: Determining Brain Age with a Simple Scan; May be Able to Detect, Understand Autism - featured September 20, 2010

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[Source: NPR.org] A new type of brain scan could help doctors identify children whose brains are not developing on schedule, and may eventually explain what goes wrong in the brains of children with autism.

The technique, called functional connectivity MRI, shows which parts of the brain are communicating. That makes it more useful for detecting developmental disorders than traditional MRI, which shows brain structures, says Nico Dosenbach of Washington University in St. Louis.

Many children with severe behavioral or learning problems get traditional MRI, Dosenbach says. But their scans usually appear normal, he says. That's because the problem isn't usually with the brain structures themselves. Instead, the trouble comes from the way those structures are communicating with each other.

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Tags: News of the Week Autism Newsletter 24 September 2010