ABR as Screener for ASD?
A recent area of research is exploring the application of auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing in identification of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Currently, ASD is typically diagnosed between the ages of 2 and 4 years. Earlier identification may allow for implementation of intervention at critical time periods of development. A review of the literature suggests that children with ASD often exhibit prolonged ABR latencies compared to controls, but there are several studies that do not support this relationship.
A meta-analysis of 25 studies (n=1,349; 727 ASD and 622 controls) by Miron et al (2018) found that infants and children with ASD demonstrated a prolongation of absolute wave-V latency and individuals over 18 years of age with ASD, a shorter wave-V latency. Outside of consideration of early brainstem maturation considerations, conductive components, and technical considerations, the authors suggest the ABR may serve as a low cost ASD biomarker at infancy.
Miron, Beam, Kohane. (2018). Auditory brainstem response in infants and children with autism spectrum disorder: A meta-analysis of wave-V, Autism Research 11(2):355-363.