A study of 110 infants conducted by scientists at Emory University’s Marcus Autism Center has detected signs of autism in babies as young as two-months old.
The findings could be a breakthrough, since autism isn’t normally diagnosed in children under the age of two. In the study, the researchers noted that autistic infants saw their ability to sustain eye contact with caregivers decline as they grew older. By contrast, the time non-autistic children spend making eye contact with caregivers usually rises during the same period, the Los Angeles Times notes.
Among the infants in the study, 59 had siblings with an autism-related disorder, which put them at higher risk for autism. 13 were formally diagnosed with autism by the age of three. Infants who were later determined to have autism displayed early development comparable to non-autistic infants, suggesting “a remarkable opportunity for treatment,” according the the study.
Earlier diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder could give physicians and therapists a critical early window for intervention.
The researchers noted that the number of infants in the study was small and that their results would require further confirmation by other studies.
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