A new study recommends a quick brain scan that can identify adults with autism with over 90 per cent accuracy.
Scientists from the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King's College London said that the method could lead to the screening for autism spectrum disorders in children in the future.
"It could help to alleviate the need for the emotional, time consuming and expensive diagnosis process which ASD patients and families currently have to endure. We now look forward to testing if our methods can also help children," said Dr Christine Ecker.
ASD is a lifelong and disabling condition caused by abnormalities in brain development.
The team used an MRI scanner to take pictures of the brain. These were then reconstructed into 3D images to assess structure, shape and thickness - all intricate measurements that reveal Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
The biological markers can thus reveal whether or not a person has ASD.
"People with autism are affected in different ways; some can lead relatively independent lives while others need specialist support or are so severely affected they cannot communicate their feelings and frustrations at all," said Professor Declan Murphy.
"Clearly the ethical implications of scanning people who may not suspect they have autism needs to be handled carefully and sensitively as this technique becomes part of clinical practice," he added.
The paper is published in the Journal of Neuroscience today.