For the first time researchers detect autism signs in infants

by Beatrice Credi - 2017.02.16
For the first time researchers detect autism signs in infants
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For the first time, a new study suggests it’s possible to predict within the first year of life if a child will develop autism. The scientists took brain scans of over 106 infants who were considered high-risk for developing autism because they had siblings with ASD and of 42 babies without an immediate family member with autism. The researchers took images of the all the babies’ brains at six, 12, and 24 months. Fifteen of the babies were diagnosed with ASD by their second birthday. The research team went back and looked at the brain scans, and noticed the brains of the babies with ASD developed differently at two stages compared to the other infants’ brains. Between six and 12 months, the outer layer of the front of the brain was slightly larger. Over the next 12 months, their brains continued to grow slightly larger than their peers in general. It appears that, for reasons scientists don’t yet understand, this early growth in the front of the brain is the beginning of a pattern that leads to bigger brains overall. Larger brain size has been associated with ASD. The results of this study published in Nature are a real breakthrough for early diagnosis of autism.

Published in Autism, Mental disability.
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