“THERE HAVE BEEN NUMEROUS ATTEMPTS BEFORE. WE FINALLY OVERCAME THE PROBLEM.”
A computer algorithm called a “classifier” can distinguish between adults with and without autism by studying brain scans.
The software found 16 key connections that allowed it to tell, with high accuracy, who had been traditionally diagnosed with autism and who had not. The team developed the classifier with 181 adult volunteers at three sites in Japan and then applied it in a group of 88 American adults at seven sites. All the study volunteers with autism diagnoses had no intellectual disability.
“It is the first study to [successfully] apply a classifier to a totally different cohort,” says Yuka Sasaki, a research associate professor of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences at Brown University and co-corresponding author of the paper in Nature Communications. “There have been numerous attempts before. We finally overcame the problem.”