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Autism May Be Detectable As Early As Six Months


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Signs of autism may be apparent in children as young as six months, new research suggests.

In looking at more than 100 infants, researchers at the Yale School of Medicine found that those who would later develop autism were already showing deficits in social attention at just six months of age.

For the study, the babies were monitored with eye tracking technology while they watched a three-minute video of a woman doing various tasks. The actress is shown making a sandwich, looking at toys and at other points she speaks directly to the viewer. The children were then clinically assessed for an autism diagnosis three years later.

Ultimately, kids who were diagnosed with autism had spent less time looking at the social scene in the video and were less likely to look at the woman’s face than other study participants who did not develop autism, the researchers report in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

“This study highlights the possibility of identifying certain features linked to visual attention that can be used for pinpointing infants at greatest risk for ASD in the first year of life,” said Katarzyna Chawarska, an associate professor at the Yale Child Study Center, who led the study. “This could make earlier interventions and treatments possible.”

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Comments (10 Responses)

  1. Yankeegirl says:

    Why are so many kids developing Autism? Autism now effects 1 in 88 American children and that is not because of earlier detection. What toxins our children being exposed to?

  2. Ruth Ann Gomez says:

    This is an amazing discovery. It deserves further investigation. I would love to be a part of any research in this area. Current research shows increased success later in life for those who receive early intervention.

  3. Tacitus says:

    As we can see here, proof and evidence will not sway the faithful. We have known for a long time that autism was genetic in origin, yet we continue to argue about it. The only people who will benefit from this are the ones selling early intervention (which does not have the iron-clad research behind it that advertisers claim it does). The rates changed when the criteria changed. The early nineties were not marked by the introduction of brand new toxins that for some reason only affect autistcs. There are no black helicopters spraying pesticides on autistic children. There is no government conspiracy to hide the dangers of vaccines. Wearing hats made of tin foil will not reduce your child’s chances of developing autism. It’s genetic.

  4. Mrs. Alejandro says:

    We recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the birth control pill – and there have been various other chemical methods added since it’s inception. No one has asked what (if any) effect do the chemicals that are introduced into the human body may have on the undeveloped (or developing) fetus. These chemicals are toxic enough to warn of a litany of dangers to the woman’s body – what do these chemicals do to her unfertilized eggs? We are so focused on the “freedom” to control our fertility – we abnormally delay birth for decades – then when we attempt to be fertile again, are unable to do so without additional chemical help. Is anyone looking into these chemicals as a possible cause of Autism in America (or elsewhere in the world?

  5. Barb says:

    Yes, I believe it is genetic. By the time my son was one week old, I knew there was something “different” about him: the constant need to physcial contact, the constant need for movement, the endless crying. He would look at people’s mouths when they talked instead of looking in their eyes.

  6. Becky Carr says:

    This is absolutely true and there are many other indications that can be noticed early on as well…rocking motions for one….tendency to be on all fours and rocking back and forth for extended periods of time and on a regular basis or rocking sitting up in a chair or on the sofa, etc . This is a very early sign.

  7. Glen S says:

    “Wearing hats made of tin foil will not reduce your child’s chances of developing autism.” To use this poster’s own words, “As we can see here, proof and evidence will not sway the faithful.” The vitriolic comments from this and at least two other “regulars” on this site is astounding! They continue to insult those with whom they disagree, and make statements which indicate they feel theirs is the only valid point of view.

  8. Tacitus says:

    I don’t believe my viewpoint is the only valid one. I do believe that for a viewpoint to be valid, it has to be based on evidence. If you “just know” that the government is lying to you, then you don’t have a valid perspective, what you have is paranoia.

  9. Glen S says:

    While the above is true, you also fail to point out any specific evidence which denounces any other belief has being false. You are also prone to make wide sweeping statements about entire sub-sects of the population; thus dismissing them at irreverent in your mind to the greater conversation.

    Logic 101: Using a phrase like “wearing a hat made of tin foil” is by its very nature dismissive and arrogant.

  10. Tacitus says:

    Referring to the entire medical profession as liars, who are all in some bizarre collusion with one another, with the express aim of hurting children, no less, is hardly the height of amicable discourse. When the tin-foil hat theorists can maintain the level of civility they demand from others, they might get some back from me. But of course that would require them to take off the hats.

    With respect to MY failure to produce evidence: I need evidence to state that there is no conspiracy, but no evidence is necessary to say that there is one? Tell me another one, please.

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