Brain scans spot autism as early as 6 months of age

This amazing information finally and completely debunks the delusion that vaccines at 12-18 months of age cause autism.

In children as young as 6 months old, changes in the brain that can lead to autism spectrum disorder have already begun, preliminary research suggests.

Although early signs of autism, such as problems communicating and repetitive behaviors, can often be seen as early as 1 year, processes in the brain linked to communication are seemingly being altered months earlier, University of North Carolina researchers report.

USA Today reported, “Researchers have detected changes in brain development in autistic babies as young as six months old – half a year or more before parents typically begin to notice symptoms of the condition,” according to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, a publication of the American Psychiatric Association.

“Eventually, researchers hope to be able to find a pattern in these brain scans that could allow them to spot which high-risk babies are likely to be autistic, and begin intensive behavioral therapy,” which works best early in childhood.

MedPage Today reported that the study “enrolled 92 children considered to be at risk for autism because they had a sibling with the disorder, and performed diffusion tensor imaging beginning at six months of age,” focusing on white matter tracts indicative of brain development.

Two more scans were done at 12 and 24 months, followed by behavioral testing with the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) at age two.

The ADOS results showed that 28 children fell within the autistic spectrum, and also had lower Mullen scale scores.

The results correlated with differences in the brain scans of the autistic children compared to normal children, showing “abnormalities of brain white matter and altered neural developmental trajectories,” even before outward symptoms appeared.

The study “suggests that multiple areas of the brain are affected in autism, and the fact that changes were detected in advance of symptoms argues in favor of a ‘neurobiological foundation’ for autism.”

Here are further details in a report from HealthDay News:

“We know that there is evidence that autism affects the ability of different brain regions to communicate with each other. This study confirms that this atypical brain development begins very early in life,” said study co-author Geri Dawson, the chief science officer at Autism Speaks.

“These findings raise the possibility of developing imaging markers that could detect risk for autism in advance of actual symptoms, and [to] begin treatment before symptoms begin,” she said.

However, whether these brain changes occur in all autistic children isn’t known, Dawson said. It is possible that the developmental problems of autism start even earlier, while in the womb, she said.

“One can imagine a day when you would use these imaging biomarkers to identify a young baby who is at risk and then provide them with early stimulation that could, hopefully, reduce or even prevent the onset of autism,” Dawson said.

The report was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

 

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