Most people have heard of an EEG (ElectroEncephaloGraphy) which is a brain scan, using electrodes attached to the scalp, that measures electrical activity in the brain. I had one of those as a child (following epileptic episodes), and it found abnormalities, although then, autism awareness was zero and no doubt the research on EEG differences in autistic children had not been done, so no correlation was made which may have led to diagnosis.
Now, there exists the Carlos Fandango of brain scans (herald trumpets) the qEEG (quantitative EEG) which is brain mapping that identifies not only the activity (which brain waves and where) but where connections are lacking or overpopulated, through which the brain sends information.
I recently had a qEEG done, and some of the pictures of my brain patterns can be seen here, the first is activity and the second is connections:
The colours identify where you have problematic areas, and they are assessed against a database of normative data. It’s quite strange seeing on paper, in full colour, where your brain is different.
Before I went for the qEEG, I always said that it feels like parts of my brain are stuck, can’t process certain things, and sure enough it showed up. I was pretty glad it did, it’s a bit like going to the doctor with a set of weird symptoms and them saying they can’t find anything wrong with you otherwise!
Research is moving forward with brain scans and it shouldn’t be too long before diagnostic brain scans could be used: