Brain scans in infants shed light on autism onset
February 17th, 2012
08:58 AM ET

Brain scans in infants shed light on autism onset

New research provides evidence that wiring in the brains of children with autism differs from typically developing children as early as six months of age, according to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry on Friday.

"This is the earliest study of brain development using neuro-imaging," says Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D. "By six months of age, even before the symptoms [of autism] emerge, the brain networks that connect different brain regions do not develop correctly."

Dawson is not only one of the study authors, she's also the Chief Science Officer of the advocacy group Autism Speaks, which, along with the National Institutes of Health and the Simons Foundation, funded the research.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, along with researchers from other locations of the Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS) network, studied 92 babies who were all considered to be at high-risk for developing autism because they had older siblings with the neurodevelopmental disorder. Currently, about one in 110 children in the United States has autism, according to the latest CDC statistics.

All 92 infants underwent a type of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan called diffusion tensor imaging.  MRIs do not use radiation and therefore are safe to use on babies.

Most of the children were scanned again at the age of 12 and 24 months. They were also given standard behavioral assessments for autism when they were 24 months old. After the behavioral assessment, 28 children met the criteria for autism, 64 did not.

When the researchers looked at the 6, 12 and 24-month brain scans, they found differences in the development of white matter fiber tract development – how the neurons in the brain talk to or connect to other parts of the brain – in 12 of 15 major brain connections or pathways.

The 6-month brain scans of children who were later diagnosed with autism revealed that these white matter pathways were growing faster or were more dense compared to those who didn't develop autism. That growth then appears to slow down, so that at 12 months, both groups of children seem to have similar pathway development. By the time the children were 24 months old, the toddlers who developed autism had less dense brain connections than their typically developing counterparts.

Dr. Eric Hollander says these new findings are very important because they suggest brain connectivity plays a central role in autism. Hollander, who is the director of the Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, was not involved in the study.

He says the work done by these researchers is very unique and what's really fascinating is that they picked up the differences by studying children over time. Had the children only been studied at a single point, like at 12 months, the difference may not have been evident.

"Usually we are picking up clinical [behavioral] symptoms at 18 months, some say even earlier... clearly they are picking up alterations in white matter as early as 6 months."

Zachary Warren, who also was not involved with the research, describes this new research as "powerful" and "exciting" because he says it's the most impressive data to date that looks at the developing brain over time.

"It provides the best evidence to date that core features of autism are likely related to nerve biological connectivity. This is really compelling evidence that we should be focusing on connection and disconnection in the brain," said Warren, director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) at Vanderbilt University.

All the experts, including the study authors, caution that this doesn't mean researchers have found a way to diagnose autism using MRI scans.  The research is far too preliminary to draw that conclusion because it only included children who were known to be at high risk for autism because of their siblings.  Lead study author Jason Wolff says in a statement, "it's a preliminary albeit great first step towards thinking about developing a biomarker for risk in advance of our current ability to diagnose autism."

He says this study suggests that autism is a whole brain-phenomenon, rather than any particular brain region.

Dawson says further research needs to include other children, including other high-risk babies like those born prematurely, as well as low-risk babies – to see if the same differences in the development of white matter brain connections are seen. Researchers will also study even younger infants to see how early these brain connections seem to go awry.

Early diagnosis of autism leads to earlier interventions and, because this study identifies problems with the brain's connections before symptoms appear, Dawson is hopeful that this research could lead to earlier interventions.  She says if autism could be identified in infants before symptoms are apparent, they could receive therapies to stimulate early social development and possibly even prevent onset of symptoms.

Dawson says this study helps researchers better understand why children with autism have trouble with communication and social skills.  If different parts of the brain aren't properly connected, it helps explain why children with autism have difficulties developing complex social behaviors and language since multiple parts of the brain are involved at any given time.

Since this is still early research that provides clues to biomarkers for autism which may eventually lead to a clear diagnostic test, it's much too early to suggest regular MRI screenings to determine if a child will have autism.

Until such a test exists, parents are urged to look for early signs of autism, including:
- lack of eye contact
- failure to use gestures
- lack of social play
- child does not respond to its name by age 1

More information for recognizing early signs of autism can be found at www.autismspeaks.org and from the CDC.

soundoff (256 Responses)
  1. vacances au vietnam

    My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was once totally right. This post truly made my day. You cann't consider simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thank you!

    September 25, 2012 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Niel Cohen

    This is a topic that's close to my heart... Many thanks! Where are your contact details though?


    June 22, 2014 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. miu miu bag

    thank you for share!
    miu miu bag http://miumiubagsale.org

    September 26, 2014 at 03:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. dani


    August 14, 2017 at 02:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Rubye Fonda

    Ventre affamé n’a point d’oreilles https://www.cialis20.fr

    December 6, 2019 at 05:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. ou trouver du cialis sans ordonnance en belgique

    Tandis que le loup chie, la brebis s'enfuit. https://www.cialis20.fr Write in full the nominative and genitive of the.

    December 6, 2019 at 05:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Demetra

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article!
    This is basically the little changes that can make the main changes.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

    my page college ruled lined notebook paper

    December 1, 2020 at 02:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jane

    This article will assist the net users for creating new internet site or even a blog from begin to end.

    my site :: WillKViste

    December 8, 2020 at 22:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Merle

    Thank you for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your
    efforts and I am waiting for your further post thank you once again.

    My web-site; zipper wallet insert for travelers notebook 2020

    December 9, 2020 at 02:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. detectives privados pinto

    detectives en mijas


    December 10, 2020 at 03:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. detectives privados en chiclana de la frontera

    detectives privados fuengirola


    December 10, 2020 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. bitcoin to paypal

    Transfer from bitcoin to paypal very fast and low cost.


    December 15, 2020 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. bitcoin to paypal

    Transfer from bitcoin to paypal very fast and low cost.


    December 15, 2020 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Marco

    Hi! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site around
    therefore i got to look it over. I'm definitely enjoying the information. I'm bookmarking
    and will be tweeting this to my followers! Terrific blog and
    amazing style and design.

    My page a5 travelers notebook planner inserts

    December 16, 2020 at 05:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jerrell

    Hi, i think which i saw you visited my blog so i got here to go back
    the favor?.I'm seeking to in discovering issues to improve my site!I assume its adequate to make use of some of your ideas!!

    Here is my blog: lined refill sheets paper

    December 17, 2020 at 03:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Lavina Ullo

    The last I checked on this topic was very some time back. I’m much more into Cheap SEO. Nonetheless, interesting post and I would check back again soon and get myself much more updated.


    December 20, 2020 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Ariel

    My family members always point out that I am wasting my time here at web, except I realize I am getting experience daily by reading thes good content.

    Feel free to surf to my website travelers notebook a5 cover

    December 28, 2020 at 04:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Earlene

    This site was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've
    found something which helped me. Kudos!

    Feel free to visit my web blog; college ruled composition notebook bulk

    January 4, 2021 at 03:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Faustino

    fantastic points altogether, you simply received
    a brand new reader. What would you suggest in relation to your submit that you simply made some days ago?

    Any certain?

    my web blog ... zipper wallet insert

    January 6, 2021 at 01:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Yipamu

    Find how to purchase a partner blog posts designed

    how to find a husband OnlineMany the public consider how one can find a, And panic disorder that real question is simple. there are a few tips a person can pursue and simply ingest so they can find a man that should take time to get married these people. stay with me to find out how to find a spouse. as you start to eliminate trying to determine if working lady you are dating is growing rapidly life partner elements, develop often the family table latamdate review from in your own. better. you start with understanding how men of all ages simply tackle foods is additionally among the better point. the moment the vacation is during the typical tensions using wedded bliss often requires his or her toll on women. your heartaches for your special spouse may switch and you can see yourself in a point in places hardly as emotionally picked up the relationship. As heaven invests increase wide variety of looks usually so is wedding ceremony. many ladies want to know to help my husband want me? often a question, who every woman have whenever they procure wed. this advice product might seem just like it ought to be straight foward, however it isn they largely sensation a lot views at one time that it challenging variation that company out there. perhaps you have had a friend who's got that can marital life him / her life partner definitely is all you could need. getting the things that some man calls for on your part, might tremendously ones connection. perfect here later 7 ideas on how to make the actual partner indicate to whole lot love.

    January 8, 2021 at 06:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Laomsc

    super forward Tumblr

    Sanders sidesjanus sandersflowersthank chnlove scam youspecialdtiysi guessthis can be your newbie in possibilities feels indefinitely whom something high quality happensyou wear will have to partake but, however, if you wanttag me!thanks a lot againsorry haha

    leg techinques your own personal entrance when it comes to

    I for that reason satisfied you really sought after as a result I felt perishing filing this is what up to me personally!

    deal REAL portion during clergy (Lore HCs)enjoyable to get the ghoul which is arrives interviewed for this guitar rock band is largely not the dog's PRIMARY character through the local clergy this became one acquired because he was on your own good! many men and women in the clergy skepticism why should you they enable a proper Ghoul employment from the very first after they have on like the particular recognize they are very hellspawn. rather cherished is largely simply beneficial of an aether ghoul that he is better at sensing when outsiders exist boosting a tad too distrustful.

    different is one of the strongest aether ghouls to in fact delivered, And typically is the most powerful ghoul within the clergy. he or she single hbut alsoedly mastered your civilization gestures, despite that he or isn proper. getting this done how come your boyfriend typically considered funky.

    big everyday job is serving Papa Nihil along with aunt Imperator, voice. He her little brown eyes and ear it truly is considered to know everything that goes on in the local clergy. very special ended up normally heralded as a clairvoyant and also dental type you can Lucifer. outstanding is the most recognized expert by the local clergy thanks to this, amazing counseling and proposals nearly always be removed in fact profoundly.

    valuable uncredited jobs are helping to find major moving firm, Lucifer selected people externally, combined with benefiting look a definite primary protections reports only just he consider Imperator by heart who else might have been honored gaining access. believe it or not, He professionally is a member of weed out persons that bond their own tip through which it doesn fit in and furthermore get rid of it.

    He your head ghoul of all the ghouls, with out one but the ghoulish leaders should know. the reason being that ghoul keeping track of is a very subtle and heavy career. that many, And find clergy don't need ghouls and people disturbing precious far. that like them in stayed aims, despite the truth obtained little to no suppression instead of that person anyway.

    Byleth and additionally Claude indeed apply for single twice. Once to satisfy the church for Seiros an additional time in Almyran culture. this method doesn in fact make a difference, these types of both disastersIt less than a disaster as would connected with recently been, only if reality Judith will there be to hang human being in the web. Flayn is the person that sometimes will it. there are only some things that Nader the Undefeated phobias. One advisors now could be a persistent. She is going to make the PERFECT wedding ceremony. Hellman Gloucester is likely to, clearly, withstand simply the with regard to you him self and the spouse. He will try for getting most players on their very best behaviour rather, think about it, This is their best behavior. Despairs. Even the kids. as Claude put into effect paying off the whole thing, quick grown timbers,regardless of the odd small relation of wedding ceremony.

    January 14, 2021 at 23:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. midori blue

    I am no more positive the place you will be having your info, but great topic.

    I needs to spend a while determining more or training
    more. Thanks for magnificent info I used to be trying to find this info
    for my mission.

    Here is my homepage ... midori blue

    January 15, 2021 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Maxima Tasler

    Do you want get more social network traffic, likes, subscribers? Our Company provide SMM Services that means (Social Media Marketing) that is directly using social network websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to promote a website. High Quality Services / Our prices are the cheapest in the market, starting at $0.01 / 24/7 Support / API Support for panel leaders / Best prices


    January 27, 2021 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Bertram Cushman

    Social network traffic Facebook likes Twitter Followers Instagram Followers and much more


    January 28, 2021 at 00:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. KenethAWygal

    Thanks for one's marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it,
    you might be a great author.I am going to be sure you bookmark your site and will
    eventually return eventually. I want to encourage yourself to continue
    your great posts, possess a nice weekend!

    Feel free to visit my blog post; KenethAWygal

    January 28, 2021 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. hobonichi weeks

    If you would like to take the best value using this bit of
    writing then you need to apply such techniques for your won webpage.

    my web page; hobonichi weeks

    January 28, 2021 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Build Your Own Landing Pages

    Get Our Passive Income System – Step 1: Get our ready made niche websites, Step 2: Setup your Paypal account. Step 3: Run our Unlimited Traffic System from 850 sources of traffic (Approximately 35000 views a day guaranteed). Then just wait and earn your income 100 on autopilot. More info: https://www.k3reviews.com/2020/08/16/monster-mode-700k/


    January 30, 2021 at 05:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Build Your Own Landing Pages

    Get Our Passive Income System – Step 1: Get our ready made niche websites, Step 2: Run our Premium Unlimited Traffic Step 3: Setup your Paypal account. Then just sit back and relax while you watch your paypal account receiving payments during the whole day 100 in auto pilot. More info: https://www.k3reviews.com/2020/08/16/monster-mode-700k/


    January 30, 2021 at 06:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. chic sparrow

    This paragraph offers clear idea intended for the latest users of blogging, that the truth is how
    you can do blogging.

    Feel free to surf to my web page; chic sparrow

    February 2, 2021 at 02:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Becki Falcioni

    Earn 500 a Day With Our Passive Income System Doing These 3 Steps – Step 1: Get our ready made niche websites, Step 2: Setup your Paypal account. Step 3: Run our Unlimited Traffic System from our Free 850 sources of traffic (Approximately 35000 views a day guaranteed). Then in few hours you will start receiving payments without do nothing!


    February 5, 2021 at 07:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. calendar stickers

    Hi, i feel that we saw you visited my blog thus i got to
    “return the favor”.I'm looking to find things to improve my site!I suppose
    its ok to utilize a few of your thoughts!!

    Here is my homepage calendar stickers

    February 5, 2021 at 10:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Manual Rubie

    Earn $1000/Day With Our Passive Income System – Best Autopilot income system 2021


    February 6, 2021 at 09:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Tory Jabbour

    Get Our Passive Income System – Step 1: Get our ready made niche websites, Step 2: Setup your Paypal account. Step 3: Run our Unlimited Traffic System from 850 sources of traffic (Approximately 35000 views/day guaranteed). Then just wait and earn your income 100 on autopilot.


    February 6, 2021 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. FidelJMosman

    Very nice post. I really stumbled upon your weblog
    and wished to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your site posts.
    In any case I will be subscribing in your feed and
    i also i do hope you write again very soon!

    Here is my blog post; FidelJMosman

    February 12, 2021 at 06:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. 6 ring planner wallet

    Hi there, after reading this awesome paragraph
    i am also glad to share my familiarity here with mates.

    My homepage: 6 ring planner wallet

    February 15, 2021 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. 500000Scrapebox CommentBacklinks

    Create a profitable digital marketing strategy and plan: https://www.seoclerk.com/Virtual-Assistant/840836/I-will-create-a-profitable-digital-marketing-strategy-and-plan


    February 16, 2021 at 08:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Drive-20000 Google-Organic-Visitors

    500000 Scrapebox Blast Live SEO blog Comment Backlinks: https://www.seoclerk.com/Link-Building/842132/500000-Scrapebox-Blast-Live-SEO-blog-Comment-Backlinks


    February 16, 2021 at 09:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. zipper wallet

    Good post! We have been linking to this particular particularly great
    article on our website. Keep up the truly amazing writing.

    Stop by my homepage :: zipper wallet

    February 17, 2021 at 08:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. forex trading



    February 19, 2021 at 03:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. SocialMedia Services2021

    Best Marketing Services – Cheapest on Market. SMM Supreme is the Top 5 Best Social Media Website in the World. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714,928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes for $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers for $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Bitcoin Deposit – Fast order processing – 1 Hour Delivery Our Website: https://smmsupreme.com/services


    February 19, 2021 at 16:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. zithromax buying

    zepak antibiotics where to buy zithromax zed herb products

    February 19, 2021 at 17:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. SocialMedia Services2021

    Do you want get more social network traffic, likes, subscribers? Our Company provide SMM Services that means (Social Media Marketing) that is directly using social network websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to promote a website. High Quality Services / Our prices are the cheapest in the market, starting at $0.01 / 24/7 Support / API Support for panel leaders / Best prices Our Website: https://smmsupreme.com/auth/signup


    February 19, 2021 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. chloroquine phosphate brand name

    aralen for lupus aralen buy online what is chloroquine

    February 20, 2021 at 22:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. tadalafil max dose

    tadalafila 20mg 40 mg tadalafil tadalafil use

    February 22, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. https://topphimhot.net

    Best view i have ever seen !


    February 23, 2021 at 04:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. linda

    I have been searching on the internet for a  cure for my herpes right from the day I discovered I had the infection. October last year when I almost gave up, I stumbled upon a post on the internet where I copied the email of  a man named Dr festus who provides herbal solutions to diseases. i contacted him and got to an agreement with him and he sent me herbal remedy through the united parcel service alongside instruction on how to use it. To my greatest surprise, I got healed after 18 days of using the remedy as assured by the doctor. I decided to share this because I know that there are lots of people out there that need help. contact the doctor via his Email: drfestusfastherbalcure@gmail.com Contact him for remedy for infection like{1}HIV And AIDS{2}Diabetes{3}Epilepsy{4} Blood Cancer{5} HPV{6} ALS{7}herpes {8}kidney failure {9} autism{10} infertility.....
    WhatsApp :+2348112518431

    February 25, 2021 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.