Autism Awareness Day: What Does Radiology Have to Do With It?


World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 promotes understanding and support for people with autism, helping them reach their full potential.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of conditions that involve social skill difficulties and repetitive behaviors or speech. The CDC reports that 1 in 44 children has ASD, with boys four times as likely to be diagnosed as girls. The causes of autism may involve both genetic and environmental factors.

Early diagnosis and intervention for ASD is more likely to lead to positive outcomes later in life. That’s where radiology comes in.

Radiology’s Role in Diagnosing Autism

There is no definitive medical test to diagnose ASD. Instead, doctors consider a child’s developmental history and behavior. Early signs may include:

  • Lack of eye contact
  • Lack of interest in other children or caregivers
  • Limited language abilities
  • Severe agitation at even small changes in their routine

Deep-learning algorithms may detect autism using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans. One algorithm was able to distinguish between people with and without autism with about 78 percent accuracy. The algorithm primarily detected functional connectivity differences in the brain.

Making Imaging Easier for Patients With Autism

Although MRI scans are an important medical tool, their loud noises and small spaces are stressful for patients with ASD. In a recent article published in the journal Autism, experts recommended ways to accommodate patients with ASD who must undergo MRI.

These measures include:

  • Provide information to patients and caregivers before the scan.
  • Minimize the number of staff involved in the scan to reduce noise and distractions that can increase patient anxiety.
  • Use distraction techniques, such as music or movies during the scan.

Communication between primary care providers and imaging teams is also critical.

At Novarad, we recognize that fast, friction-free communication between providers is essential in radiology. Our Nova RIS solution helps you reduce interruptions, strengthen referral relationships, and eliminate unnecessary paperwork.

Interested in learning more about Nova RIS? Get in touch with us today!