A recent research study reveals significant differences in brain development in high-risk infants who are eventually diagnosed with autism- the differences are present as early as 6-months of age. The study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry reports that even before the symptoms of autism are present, differences in brain development can be detected through brain scans.
These findings can be important for early diagnosis, and early diagnosis can lead to early intervention, which is key in the treatment of autism. The earlier treatment is initiated, the more progress is typically made in many skill areas.
The study followed 92 infants from 6 months up to two years of age. The infants were considered high-risk because they had an older sibling diagnosed with autism. By age two, 30% of the infants involved in the study were diagnosed with autism.
Autism is a term that describes a group of complex developmental brain disorders known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). Parents and professionals refer to these diagnoses as Autism Spectrum Disorders. Recent research suggests that one child in every 88 will be diagnosed with autism, with the diagnosis being 3 to 4 times more common in boys than girls.