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Telltale Signs of Autism as Early as 6 Months

Researchers Spot Differences in Brain Development in Infants Who Go on to Develop Autism

Brain Changes in Autism: Perspective

The new finding about brain changes in autism is an important clue, says Christine Wu Nordahl, PhD, assistant adjunct professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and an autism researcher at the M.I.N.D. Institute, University of California, Davis.

"To try to find out any sorts of brain changes that are happening prior to the diagnosis is really critical for the field," she tells WebMD. She reviewed the findings but was not involved in the research.

One limitation, she says, is the lack of a ''low-risk" group for comparison. All the infants had older siblings with ASDs. That puts them at higher risk than other children. The researchers also note this limitation.

"We're a step closer to understanding the brain changes that may be happening before the clinical diagnosis is made," Nordahl says. Eventually, these earlier clues may lead to earlier intervention. "That's what we are hoping for.”

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