Brain Scan a good thing.?

This is my first post in this discussion.

It might soon be possible to discover if someone is Autistic by a brain scan.

There is information about the new brain scan on the web site and the articles were written last year in 2010.   Anyone can look it up for themselves on the web.


The computer can tell small differences in the brain so tell if the person is on the Autistic Spectrum.

It would be much quicker than interviewing the person.

I do not know if a person would count as Autistic if they behaved as though they were but the brain scan did not show Autism.

People in that situation might be denied help if they did not count as Autistic.

In the 1980s I was told that the brain scans did not detect anything wrong with my brians.   People who knew me were not impressed.

I have since done brain scans for research the idea being to find out by scanning many Autistic people if their brains are different from Non Autistic people.

That research might have helped them develop the new brain scan.

Do you think the new brain scan will be a good thing when it is developed?

What would you feel if the brain scan found that your were not Autistic? 


  • Firstly how does anyone know the scan was wrong.

    We are all individuals so it might be that some people who have that difference do not behave in an Autistic way as I explained in Asperger United.

    Do not Sterotype Autistic people.


    Secondly if the whole world was Autistic we would  be quarelling as we would not get on like the Tower of Bable.  Everyone spoke a different language so the tower was not built.  Autistic people do not always get on as we have our different obsessions.

    Thirdly we must not forget about co-existing conditions Autistic people have such as Dyspraxia Dyslexia and Mental Illness Epilepsy.

    Many people spend their last few years of their lives in pain and I do not think I could cope.

    That might be because of my Asperger Syndrome.


  • This story is a very good illustration of the perils of science reporting. Most of the media stories would have been based on the Kings College press release which opens like this.

    Scientists from the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King’s College London have developed a pioneering new method of diagnosing autism in adults. For the first time, a quick brain scan that takes just 15 minutes can identify adults with autism with over 90 per cent accuracy. The method could lead to the screening for autism spectrum disorders in children in the future.

    That all seems straightforward until you look at the actual paper which is open access so you can download it for free. I wrote "look at" deliberately. It is far too technical for most of us to understand. But I did learn something.

    All the test subjects were male, adult, right handed, of normal intelligence, with no history of any psychiatric disorder or illness that might affect their brains (eg psychosis or epilepsy). They all had blood rests to rule out other disorders like fragile X. But even if the test eventually proves viable for women, children, people of low IQ, etc. it faces an even bigger obstacle.

    The test was 90% sensitive and 80% specific. This means that 9 times out of to it will correctly identify autistic people taking the test. But it will only correctly identify non-autistic people 8 times out of 10. In the real world screening tests would be used on 1000s of people at a time. If you test 1000 people for autism you would expect to find 10 with autism. 90% sensitivity means the test would find 9 of them. But the test would also incorrectly find autism in 20% of the rest - 198 false positives.

    It may turn out to be a useful research tool that adds to our understanding of autism. But it is going to be a long, long time - if ever - before this test is any use as a screen for autism. 

  • How do we know if the machines are not a hundred percent accurate.?

    I should think it is possible to have difficulty reading without being Dyslexic and some people with Dyslexia over come their difficulties.

    The same might be true of Autism.

    Are you saying that ninety percent of people who behave as though they are Autistic show up on the brain scan?

    Are you also saying that people who do not behave as though there are Autistic do not show up on the brain scan.


  • I have just looked and it says that brain scan results usually give the same results of traditional diagnoses but not always.

    As traditional diagnoses is subjective might it be that the results of traditional diagnoses could be wrong and the results of the brain scan always right.

    Everyone behaves as though they are Autistic some times and it is possible for an Autistic person to overcome their disability in a few cases.

    If a brain scan detects differences in the brain structure the computer is objective so is probably correct and is also correct if it does not.

    It is true that people who come into daily contact with us are not interested in brain scan results but in how we behave.

    The point I am making is that the brain scan might never be wrong in deciding who is Autistic.


  • ...Im almost literally defaecating in fear!! There is no legitimate reason for developing this technology...behavioural proofs are good enough for benign diagnosis and dont cost millions in R+D, testing and application...this is a targeting tool preparitory to a genocide...

  • The current situation is that there are a lot of people who don't get diagnosed with ASD because their cases are complicated by lots of consequential comorbidities that are hard to distinguish against alternatives like bipolar disorder or other severe disorders. When a doctor comes to do a differential diagnosis they don't have any reliable tests that get past our communication disorders to the true underlying causes. So, in a lot of cases people are condemned to a life on meds when, in fact, they have the much more benign condition of ASD. Wouldn't it be good if we could save a bunch of people from a lifetime on meds by using a reliable test that could bypass our communication issues?

    In any case, this is long term research, I don't think that they are close to having anything that is reliable enough for the really problematic cases where it could be of great benefit.

    In my oiwn case, I would have been grateful if something like this could have identified the problem in my father. He had a lifetime on meds that were not successful in treating his depression and anxieties. He ended up with Alzheimers and I wonder whether the meds had something to do with the final outcome. If this scenario could be avoided by having a proper scientific test, rather than having to jump through hoops with vague questions and uncertain diagnoses to convince some practitioner who might just be following a script without any great understanding of how to tell the difference, then I for one would welcome it.

  • If it is 90% accurate now , maybe with time it would be better. Screening would, I imagine, be followed up. So perhaps false  readings would be filtered out later, as with physical illness such as cancer.

  • Does anybody know if this has improved in recent years, please?  If this is a useful diagnostic tool, how easy is it to get a brain scan and interpretation, and how much is it?