In an interview with WBUR's Bob Oakes this morning, the lead author of the new autism study, Nicholas Lange, says the test — an MRI that can detect water diffusion in the brain, and detect high-functioning autism with 94 percent accuracy — might be available for use in a few years.
Even though autism was first recognized almost 70 years ago, there is no biological indicator of its presence that can be used,” said Dr. Lange, director of the neurostatistics laboratory at McLean.
“Autism is diagnosed by a very well-structured, four-hour interview with the parents and also an hour-long observation with the child,” Lange said. “Now this subjective test is well-regarded across the world — there is some controversy with it — but my point is it takes a doctor’s call, it takes a subjective judgment, which may or may not be repeatable depending upon whom you talk with, whom you get the test from.”
This program aired on December 2, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.