Could Newborn Hearing Screenings Be Used to Identify Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder?
In a recent study published in Autism Research, researchers at the University of Miami and Harvard Medical School suggest that newborn auditory brainstem response (ABR) screening results may be used as a biomarker for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Miron et al, 2020).
When examining ABR data from 139,154 newborns, the 321 newborns later diagnosed with ASD displayed greater variability and significant prolongations of the negative wave that follows positive wave V (V-negative) and ABR phase calculated with a Fast Fourier Transform.
The delayed ABR latencies in the present study are similar to those reported in previous studies of older infants and children tested with higher-intensity stimuli (Fujikawa‐Brooks et al, 2010; Miron et al, 2016, 2018; Roth et al, 2011; Wong and Wong, 1991).
Given the availability of newborn hearing screening data, the results of this study are important. However, future studies will be necessary to replicate this work and to determine the usefulness of the ABR phase and V-negative. The authors conclude that future studies using higher stimulus intensities will likely yield less variable results and offer a more robust biomarker for diagnosing ASD in infants.
Fujikawa‐Brooks S, Isenberg AL, Osann K, Spence MA, Gage NM. (2010) The effect of rate stress on the auditory brainstem response in autism: A preliminary report. Intl J Audiol 49(2):129– 140.
Miron O, Delgado RE, Delgado CF, Simpson EA, Yu K, Gutierrez A, Zeng G, Gerstenberger JN, Kohane IS. (2020) Prolonged auditory brainstem response in universal hearing screening of newborns with autism spectrum disorder. Autism Res. In press. DOI: 10.1002/aur.2422
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Miron O, Beam AL, Kohane IS. (2018) Auditory brainstem response in infants and children with autism spectrum disorder: A meta‐analysis of wave V. Autism Res 11(2):355– 363.
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