Brain Scans Might Spot Autism as Early as 6 Months of Age

Preliminary study says communication links in brain drop off before symptoms appear

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"This is not a cheap or casual procedure," he said.

"However, this study suggests that there are roots to autism on a neurological level very early on," Adesman said.

In the future, the new research may have a clinical application, he said, but right now "this is not a diagnostic test and parents should not be asking for it."

Another expert, Dr. Robert F. Lopez-Alberola, an associate professor and chief of pediatric neurology at the University of Miami School of Medicine, added that while it has been known that there are changes in the brain in autism, "this is the first time we see this over time."

"From the clinical prescriptive, we may have identified a potential marker for earlier diagnosing and then to begin interventions that could make the symptoms less significant or even to prevent them," he said.

More information

For more information on autism, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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