home
RSS
Study: Signs of autism may show up as early as first month
As part of the study, researchers tracked babies and toddlers' responses to videos showing actresses playing a caregiver.
November 6th, 2013
02:11 PM ET

Study: Signs of autism may show up as early as first month

The first signs of autism may be visible as early as the first month of a child's life, according to a study published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature.

"These are the earliest signs of autism ever observed," says lead study author Warren Jones.

Researchers at the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta followed 110 children from birth to age 3, at which point a diagnosis of autism was ascertained. Fifty-nine babies were considered "high risk" for developing an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) because they had siblings with autism; 51 were considered "low risk" because they did not have first, second or third-degree relatives with ASD.

Data was collected at 2, 3, 4 ,5, 6, 9, 12, 15 and 24 months of age. Each time, the children watched videos showing actresses playing the role of a caregiver. "Every baby watched the same videos, and then we could measure what was different about the responses of infants later diagnosed with autism versus infants who were typically-developing," Jones says.

Lack of eye contact is one of the red flags when it comes to autism - a group of neurodevelopmental disorders that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.

Jones, who is the director of research at Marcus Autism Center and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine, says he really expected the children later diagnosed with autism would have diminished eye contact from birth. Instead, he and his colleagues measures how much time each baby was looking at the eyes of the caregiver in the video.

"Basically from birth, (all) babies will look more at the eye part of faces," says Jones. But at about 4 to 6 weeks, he says the attention to eyes decreases, then in typical babies picks up again at 2 months. Jones found, "in the first 6 months of life we're seeing a decline in the amount of looking at other people's eyes in children who later are diagnosed with autism."

The research suggests that a baby's initial eye contact ability may be an almost a reflex-like behavior, but then there may be a second phase of development that depends on different brain and gene systems which lead to social interaction, Jones says. That's where a typically developing child's development may differ from a child with autism.

The study authors conclude that "the observation of this decline in eye fixation - rather than outright absence - offers a promising opportunity for early intervention."

This is not something parents are going to see by just holding their baby, Jones points out.  This type of eye-tracking requires sophisticated technology that can track even the slightest movement of the eye.

"It's a very interesting study with intriguing results. " says Wendy Stone, a longtime autism researcher and director of the Research in Early Autism Detection & Intervention (READI) lab at the University of Washington. But, she adds, "many researchers in this field have not seen behaviors under 6 months to be predictive of later diagnosis."

She also cautions that babies looking at videos of their mothers are not the same as the actual stimuli created by a mom interacting with her baby. "Are these babies less interested in eyes because mouths are more interesting to look at and more attractive because there's more movements? To me that's one of the big questions," says Stone.

Dr. Max Wiznitzer, a pediatric neurologist and autism specialist at the Rainbow and Babies Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, says this new study is a continuation of previous work in babies. He says this research makes sense to him. "There's a decrease in the amount of attention to eyes as an early marker of social behavior (think of it as a primitive level of socialization)." Wiznitzer suggests the failure to establish these early social skills has ramifications later as "social behavior shifts into more sophisticated patterns."

If this research bears out, then maybe at some point a pediatric practice could track eye movements as one way to diagnose a child with autism, says Stone. "But we're really, really far away from that."

Wiznitzer says this may explain why the autism symptoms may be more apparent at 18 to 24 months, "even though 'subclinical' onset was months earlier." He also suggests these study results may offer another explanation why the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, which isn't administered until a baby is at least 12 months old, cannot be blamed for causing autism.

Everyone agrees this research needs to be replicated in bigger studies with more children, Wiznitzer says. "The authors are correct that a replication study using a larger number (of children) is necessary. Before that time, I would not devote extensive resources towards assessing eye attention in infants or designing major intervention programs."

Jones says, "what we really want to do is create growth charts for social behavior, just like we have growth charts for charting a child's height and weight." He says these those are the kind of tools that pediatricians need and parents are looking for.


soundoff (368 Responses)
  1. JbsdEncox

    Augmentin https://onlinecanda21.com/ canadapharmacy

    April 27, 2021 at 04:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. priligy

    priligy pills for sale dapoxetine 30mg price

    April 27, 2021 at 05:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. AbdgEncox

    viagra from canada https://canadianeve21.com/ – Hyzaar Bystolic

    April 27, 2021 at 06:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. avana

    avanafil avana 200 mg

    April 27, 2021 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. homes for sale coeur d' alene lake

    http://www.ensconce.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.meganleary.com

    April 27, 2021 at 21:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. real estate for sale near me now

    That is a really good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very precise information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

    http://www.naijagist.com/forum/index.php?thememode=full;redirect=https://meganleary.com

    April 27, 2021 at 22:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. JbsdEncox

    Rulide http://onlinecanda21.com/ medical information online

    April 28, 2021 at 19:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. LhdvZisse

    cialis viagra gr http://asciled.com/ – buy cialis online overnight delivery cialis using paypal

    April 30, 2021 at 08:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. AbdgEncox

    price pro pharmacy canada http://canadianeve21.com/ Moduretic

    April 30, 2021 at 21:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. BbdfMile

    can i buy viagra over the counter https://gensitecil.com/ how does viagra work?

    May 1, 2021 at 15:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. canadian weight loss pills

    canadian customs pills vitamins https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian generic pills

    May 1, 2021 at 22:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RfvbZisse

    buy cialis online in australia https://cileve.com/ cialisis

    May 2, 2021 at 00:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. erectile

    erectile response https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile tissue in men

    May 2, 2021 at 02:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RfvbZisse

    is ordering cialis online legal http://cileve.com/ low cost cialis

    May 2, 2021 at 03:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. ed pills

    erectile disorder vs erectile dysfunction https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ do erectile pills permanently increase size

    May 2, 2021 at 05:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Köpa likes och följare

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to understand
    a lot about this, such as you wrote the e book in it or something.

    I believe that you just could do with some % to drive the message
    home a little bit, but instead of that, this is great blog.
    A great read. I will definitely be back.

    May 2, 2021 at 13:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. LhdvZisse

    cialis free 30 day supply https://asciled.com/ whats better cialis viagra or levitra

    May 2, 2021 at 20:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. LrbsEncox

    gsk levitra coupon 2019 levitra vs cialis reviews levitra effects

    May 3, 2021 at 04:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. AnooEncox

    does viagra postpone ejaculation http://llviagra.com/ si una mujer toma viagra que le pasa

    May 3, 2021 at 22:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. truck exhaust installation near me

    https://cse.google.com.sv/url?sa=i&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Ffleetservicesocrv.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 4, 2021 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Shades Los Angeles

    https://map.google.com.bo/url?q=j&sa=t&url=https://carsonrvexperience.com

    May 4, 2021 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Lighting Orange County

    https://image.google.com.ec/url?q=https3A2F2Focrvcenter.org&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 4, 2021 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. LbsoZisse

    cialis overnight http://ucialisdas.com/ cialis 40mg

    May 4, 2021 at 17:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. GtnbCrulk

    viagra india http://jokviagra.com/ extenze vs viagra

    May 4, 2021 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Fiberglass California

    https://images.google.co.id/url?q=j&source=web&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Focrvmotorsports.info&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 4, 2021 at 18:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. aika online private server source

    It’s difficult to find well-informed people about this subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

    https://legendtrailca.com/ViewSwitcher/SwitchView?mobile=True&returnUrl=http3A2F2Faikareborn.com

    May 4, 2021 at 19:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. aika online private server

    Having read this I thought it was rather enlightening. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!

    https://google.ne/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Faikareborn.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 4, 2021 at 20:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Repair Riverside

    There's certainly a great deal to know about this subject. I like all of the points you have made.

    https://management.com.ua/links/rate_goto.php?url=http3A2F2Focrv.guru

    May 4, 2021 at 21:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. truck & trailer repair near me

    https://google.iq/url?sa=i&source=web&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Fboxtruckrepairshop.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 4, 2021 at 21:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. GtnbCrulk

    viagra vs sildenafil https://jokviagra.com/ how long does viagra take to kick in

    May 4, 2021 at 23:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. mercedes sprinter cargo van

    This is a topic that's near to my heart... Take care! Exactly where are your contact details though?

    http://www.arrowscripts.com/cgi-bin/a2/out.cgi?id=66&l=bigtop&u=https://ocrvfleetservices.com

    May 5, 2021 at 03:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Steps Near Me

    https://clients1.google.kg/url?q=j&source=web&rct=j&url=https://ocrv.org

    May 5, 2021 at 03:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. mercedes sprinter van

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Many thanks for providing this info.

    https://images.google.nl/url?q=j&source=web&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Fsprintervanrepairshop.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 5, 2021 at 05:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. semi truck body shop near me

    I was excited to find this website. I wanted to thank you for your time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely loved every bit of it and i also have you saved to fav to see new things in your web site.

    https://local.google.sc/url?sa=t&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Ffleetservicesorangecounty.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 5, 2021 at 05:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. aika online private servers

    http://www.mentorkit.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.aikareborn.com

    May 5, 2021 at 06:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Inspection California

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be useful to read content from other writers and use something from their websites.

    http://www.mozhay.ru/redirect?url=https://ocrvandtrucks.com

    May 5, 2021 at 08:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. truck brake repair near me

    Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking the time and actual effort to produce a top notch article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

    https://images.google.cm/url?sa=j&source=web&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Ffleetservicerepairshop.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 5, 2021 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. m88

    Greetings I am so excited I found your website, I really found you by error, while I was researching on Yahoo for
    something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a
    incredible post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and
    also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back
    to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the
    superb jo.

    May 5, 2021 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Az Vision

    https://maps.google.com.sa/url?sa=j&source=web&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Fsunglasseseyedoctorsoptometristphoenixaz.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 5, 2021 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. truck inspection

    Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after going through a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m certainly pleased I discovered it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back often!

    https://local.google.co.kr/url?q=j&rct=j&url=https://ocrvfleetservices.com

    May 5, 2021 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Maui Jim Prescription Sunglasses

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Well written!

    https://cse.google.be/url?sa=i&url=https://sunglasseseyedoctorsoptometristphoenixaz.com

    May 5, 2021 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. propane near me

    https://www.birds.cz/avif/redirect.php?from=avif.obs.php&url=http://postfallsayurveda.com

    May 5, 2021 at 19:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. best breakfast near me

    https://www.bfrss.org.uk/redirect.aspx?guid=3376c5c3-6ba2-42b9-8ebb-b1a4b9cf352e&url=https://bestservicenearme.com

    May 5, 2021 at 20:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. dapoxetine

    dapoxetine usa dapoxetine for sale

    May 5, 2021 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RebfZisse

    cialis before and after pictures https://rcialisgl.com/ – cialis oline take cialis the correct way

    May 6, 2021 at 00:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Keratoconus Specialist Near Me

    After I originally commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I get 4 emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a means you can remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

    https://www.triumph-trophy.com/index.php?thememode=full;redirect=https://eyedoctorphoenixaz.com

    May 6, 2021 at 01:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. semi truck ac repair

    http://www.homecentre.ca/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.commercialrepairshop.com

    May 6, 2021 at 01:28 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6

Leave a Reply to Michael


 

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.

Advertisement
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.