Aditi Shankardass

  • British scientist

Aditi Shankardass (Hindi: अदिती शंकरदास) is a British neuroscientist. Her pioneering clinical work using electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings of the brain to help diagnose developmental disorders in children has been covered by the press worldwide, including CNN, ABC News, Times of India, and Financial Express, and was the subject of her widely acclaimed TED talk in 2009 at the TED conference.The work of her team at Harvard Medical School on the creation of a specific neurological biomarkers for autism has been featured in the Time Magazine special edition "TIME 100 New Scientific Discoveries".

Far too often, children with developmental disorders are diagnosed solely on the basis of their observable behavior, slotted into broad diagnostic pigeonholes and provided generalized treatments that may not always meet their specific needs.

To diagnose and treat a brain disorder accurately, it would be necessary to look at the brain directly. Looking at behavior alone can miss a vital piece of the puzzle and provide an incomplete, or even a misleading, picture of the child's problems.

When I was 10 years old, a cousin of mine took me on a tour of his medical school. And as a special treat, he took me to the pathology lab and took a real human brain out of the jar and placed it in my hands. And there it was, the seat of human consciousness, the powerhouse of the human body, sitting in my hands.

Abnormalities in brain function have traditionally been detected using electroencephalography (EEG), which involves the measurement of the ongoing electrical activity generated by the brain.

When looking at the brain, it is important to go beyond its structure to its function. This is because often in cognitive disorders, the structure of the brain is intact, but its function is compromised.