Extra Brain Fluid May Predict Autism Diagnosis: Study

But findings from small MRI review of infants need to be replicated by other researchers

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Amaral said while MRI is a safe, noninvasive technique that can be performed on very young kids without anesthesia, he doubts brain imaging like the type conducted in the study will become a routine screen in the general population. But he said its use may increase for children who have an abnormally rapidly growing head size -- another early hallmark of autism in some children.

The goal of finding an early biological marker is to figure out which children need early behavioral therapy, Amaral concluded. "We are hopeful that this may add to the clinician's database of information to help parents make that decision."

More information

For more on autism, go to the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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