Five-minute quiz to determine autism risk in 1-year-olds

Posted: April 28, 2011 by aliceaitch in It's Science!

Unsurprisingly, the quiz doesn’t include anything like “How many of those eeeevil vaccines did you stab into your baby’s legs?”

But in Thursday’s study, UC-San Diego researchers found pediatricians were able to use a five-minute questionnaire to successfully identify potential problems in communication and language skills during a 12-month-old’s wellness checkup. Questions included whether parents could tell if their infant was happy or upset, or responsive to certain cues.

Of the nearly 10,500 infants screened, 184 scored lower than expected and were referred for further evaluation and tracked for up to three years. Ultimately, 32 of them were diagnosed with an autism-spectrum disorder, while an additional 101 were determined to have a language or developmental delay or a related condition.

Granted, this isn’t perfect – the article goes on to comment that research indicates it likely detected half the kids with an autism-spectrum disorder.  But even a diagnosis of half the autism-spectrum disorder population a full two years before the current average age of diagnosis (3.1 years) is huge.  I have to wonder how many more cases would be caught if parents were given a preliminary questionnaire, say at the 9-month well check, so they could be aware of signs they should be looking for.

Incidentally, the suggested pediatric appointment for the visit (the 1-year well checkup) is the same visit at which the MMR vaccine is administered – that eeeeevil vaccine that Jenny McCarthy claims infected her son with autism.

  1. CraigR3521 says:

    Thanks Alice

  2. MikeD says:

    Forgive the misogyny, but the world would have been a better place if Jenny McCarthy would have just stuck to showing everyone her tits and fading into obscurity like every other Playmate.

    • aliceaitch says:

      It’s not misogyny, there are some men I wish would never ever ever open their mouths. For example, if John Cusack or Jake Gyllenhaal never opened their mouths again outside a movie, I’d be totally happy.

      On the other hand, Gary Sinise jumped about twenty points on my hot index due to his conservatism. Not that I ever thought he was bad looking, but oh that mind!

      And as long as we’re on the topic of celebrities and their over-inflated sense of political smarts…

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