Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New method of screening children for autism spectrum disorders works at 9 months old

Date:
April 15, 2014
Source:
Children's National Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers have identified head circumference and head tilting reflex as two reliable biomarkers in the identification of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children that are between 9 and 12 months of age. ASD is identifiable as early as two years old, although most children are not identified until after the age of four. While a number of studies have reported that parents of children with ASD notice developmental problems in children before their first birthday, there has yet to be a screening tool to identify those children.

Young child (stock image). This study looked at the use of head circumference and head tilting reflex as two biomarkers that can be used during well-baby visits by primary care providers.
Credit: Agence DER / Fotolia

Researchers, including a team from Children's National Health System, have identified head circumference and head tilting reflex as two reliable biomarkers in the identification of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children that are between 9 and 12 months of age.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ASD is identifiable as early as two years old, although most children are not identified until after the age of four. While a number of studies have reported that parents of children with ASD notice developmental problems in children before their first birthday, there has yet to be a screening tool to identify those children.

"While the 'gold standard' screening tool is the M-CHAT questionnaire, it must be read and completed by parents and then interpreted by a health care provider," said lead author Carole A. Samango-Sprouse, EdD, and Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. "What physicians are missing is a quick and effective screening measure that can easily be given to all infants regardless of background and identify ASD before 12 months. This screening is also helpful in identifying those babies who may not initially appear to be at risk and would otherwise be missed until much later in life."

This study looked at the use of head circumference and head tilting reflex as two biomarkers that can be used during their well-baby visits by their primary care providers. Both screenings were given to nearly 1,000 patients at the four, six, and nine-month well-baby visits.

At the end of nine months, those infants with a head circumference above or equal to the 75th percentile, a head circumference that was in 10 percent discrepancy with the height of the baby, or those who failed the head tilting reflex test were considered at risk for ASD or a developmental language delay. These infants were then evaluated by a neurodevelomental specialist and pediatric neurologist to differentiate between these disorders.

Of the 49 infants that displayed abnormal results, without previous diagnosis, 15 were identified at risk for ASD and 34 at risk for developmental language delay. Of the 15 children who were identified at risk for ASD between 9 and 12 months of age, 14 (93 percent) sustained the diagnosis when it was made clinically at the age of three.

"We will continue looking at the efficacy of the head circumference and head tilting reflex as a screening tool for these disorders," said Andrea Gropman, MD, a contributor to the study and Division Chief of Neurogenetics at Children's National. "As with all developmental delays, especially ASD, the sooner we can identify those children who are at risk, the sooner we can intervene and provide appropriate treatment. In other words, the sooner we identify these delays, the better the outcome for those affected."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Children's National Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. A. Samango-Sprouse, E. J. Stapleton, F. Aliabadi, R. Graw, R. Vickers, K. Haskell, T. Sadeghin, R. Jameson, C. L. Parmele, A. L. Gropman. Identification of infants at risk for autism spectrum disorder and developmental language delay prior to 12 months. Autism, 2014; DOI: 10.1177/1362361314521329

Cite This Page:

Children's National Medical Center. "New method of screening children for autism spectrum disorders works at 9 months old." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140415125548.htm>.
Children's National Medical Center. (2014, April 15). New method of screening children for autism spectrum disorders works at 9 months old. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140415125548.htm
Children's National Medical Center. "New method of screening children for autism spectrum disorders works at 9 months old." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140415125548.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) A study by King's College London says there's a link between how well kids draw at age 4 and how intelligent they are later in life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mental, Neurological Disabilities Up 21% Among Kids

Mental, Neurological Disabilities Up 21% Among Kids

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) New numbers show a decade's worth of changes in the number of kids with disabilities. They suggest mental disabilities are up; physical ones are down. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins