Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

University of San Francisco Professor Discovers Breakthrough in Detecting Autism

The research highlights how autism can be detected just a few months after birth

A University of San Francisco professor has developed an algorithm that could change lives and lead to better outcomes for children living with autism.

Dr. William Bosl, a neuroscientist at USF, figured out you can see abnormal patterns in brain activity from an age-old source -- EEG sensors -- that capture wavelengths. The research also highlights how autism can be detected just a few months after birth.

"If this works, it's a window into the mind that could change our practice of psychiatry and neurology -- the world over," Bosl said.

The research was laid out in the prestigious Scientific Reports Journal and put together with two of Bosl's colleagues from Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital.

Amy Fickenscher, who has two children with autism, said the new research will be helpful.

"If we had resources like this when my kids were younger, we could have started speech therapy or communication services even earlier," Fickenscher said.

Bosl said the goal now is to find funding and resources for a large clinical study.

"I hope it's giving them hope, but not false hope," Bosl said. "So, we have these nice research results. It only becomes helpful if we push it into clinical practice."

The research comes at a critical time as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a 15 percent increase in autism prevalance -- one in every 59 children -- since the last time it was studied five years ago.

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