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MRI scans of babies can make it possible to detect autism spectrum disorders as early as six months of age, a new study from the US suggests.

 



Image: Dreamstime (with licence)

This writes Psyknytt.no - which is a part of the Norwegian official health library website (Helsebiblioteket). They write further:

Today, an autism diagnosis is usually given when the child is around four years old. By the age of four, the size and shape of the brain is already somewhat different in this group of children, compared to children who do not have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. The American researchers wanted to investigate whether this development in the brain could be traced earlier.

Previous research has shown that having siblings with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders significantly increases the chance of developing autism. 





By picking out children who had siblings with autism, the researchers thus studied the brains of many children who later turned out to be diagnosed with autism. 

The researchers found through brain scanning methods, among other things, that in children who were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders later, the brain grew faster, compared with the group without an autism diagnosis.

The conclusion from the study is according to Psyknytt.no:

Abnormal circulation of cerebrospinal fluid in infants may play a role in the development of autism. We believe that our findings are exciting and should be registered, but we are also aware that the study has many limitations, such as that the number of participants in the study is very low. We welcome all attempts to conduct the survey again, the authors conclude.





 

Source:

  • PsykNytt
  • Shen, M. D., Nordahl, C. W., Young, G. S., Wootton-Gorges, S. L., Lee, A., Liston, S. E., ... & Amaral, D. G. (2013). Early brain enlargement and elevated extra-axial fluid in infants who develop autism spectrum disorder. Brain136(9), 2825-2835.

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