Signs of Autism Appear in Babies' Brains
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|Fri, 02-17-2012 - 7:55pm|
Researchers have found differences in brain scans of babies with autism, which could put them on the track in the future for earlier diagnosis:
The early signs of autism are visible in the brains of 6-month-old infants, a new study finds, suggesting that future treatments could be given at this time, to lessen the impact of the disorder on children.
Researchers looked at how the brain develops in early life, and found that tracts of white matter that connect different regions of the brain didn't form as quickly in children who later developed autism, compared with kids who didn't develop the disorder.
"The way the wiring was changing was dampened" in the children with autism, said study researcher Jason Wolff, who studies developmental disabilities at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. "It was a more blunted change over time, in how the brain was being wired,"
In contrast, in the brains of infants who did not later develop autism, white matter tracts were swiftly forming, Wolff said. "Their brains were organizing themselves in a pretty rapid fashion."
The findings suggest that during a child's first year, "there is a potential to intervene, to disrupt autism before it becomes entrenched," Wolff said. "There are a lot of possibilities to improve outcomes for these children."
Any thoughts on their findings?