Scientists have claimed that a quick MRI scan could tell if a child's brain is maturing properly or not, reveling any psychological and developmental disorders.
A team of scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis claims that they have created a growth curve for the brain that could turn any ordinary brain scan into a tool similar to the height and weight growth charts that help pediatricians in determining whether kids are growing at an appropriate rate.
Scientists made use of MRI technology that spots which area of the brain is most active based on their usage of oxygen. They scanned 238 volunteers aged between 7 and 30, and compiled the results to develop a baseline of what the brains should look like as they develop.
Speaking on the new strategy, study co-author Dr. Bradley L. Schlaggar said, "It's a way to understand individual differences and make predictions about an individual's neurologic and psychological health.”
A normal brain scan can detect a tumor or diagnose a stroke, but the technology almost fails to expose any problems in the brain of a person who has a disorder such as epilepsy, autism and schizophrenia.
But, the "maturation curve" can help doctors in spotting early signs of disorders.
Published in the September 10 issue of Science, the study also reveals that how the brains’ connections grow with age.