Brain Scans May Detect Signs of Autism in High-Risk Babies Before Age 1

Brain imaging scans were taken at 6 months, at 12 months and again at 2 years

It may be possible to detect autism in babies before their first birthdays, a much earlier diagnosis than ever before, a small new study finds.

Using magnetic-resonance imaging scans, researchers at the University of North Carolina were able to predict — with an 80 percent accuracy rate — which babies who had an older sibling with autism would be diagnosed with the disorder, NBC News reported.

The brain imaging scans, taken at 6 months, at 12 months and again at 2 years, showed significant growth in brain volume during the first year in babies who would later meet the criteria for autism, such as not making eye contact, delaying speech or other displaying other developmental delays.

Parents who have a child with autism have a 2 percent to 18 percent increased risk of having a second child who is also affected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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