Hallmark of autism shows up in infancy
SAN FRANCISCO — Babies later diagnosed with autism reduced their eye contact with people by 6 months of age, a finding that may lead to ways to identify the disorder earlier in life, researchers said.
Nearly 60 babies who were thought to be at high risk of autism were examined in the study, as were 51 babies considered at low risk, according to the report released on Wednesday by the journal Nature. Later, 13 children were diagnosed with autism.
While a lack of eye contact has been a hallmark of autism since the disease was first described, it's not known exactly when it begins to occur, wrote study authors Warren Jones and Ami Klin, both of Emory University in Atlanta.
The report suggests that while newborns don't initially show any difference in looking directly at people's eyes, changes occur from 2 months to 6 months of age. Babies who had the steepest declines in eye contact tended to have the most severe autism.
“If confirmed in larger samples, this would offer a remarkable opportunity,” they wrote. The findings may mean there's a developmental window where autism may be treated or attenuated.
One in 50 children are diagnosed with autism or a related disorder, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in March. Children with autism may be unresponsive to people, become indifferent to social activity and have communication difficulties.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fewer adults smoking, U.S. survey finds
- Liberal Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg has stent placed in heart artery
- Obama’s immigration actions neglect business pleas
- Fissures begin to emerge among Dems
- Obama administration announces plan to limit smog-forming ozone
- In Ferguson, demonstrations over black youth’s slaying by police officer peter out
- Rookie Cleveland police officer acted within 2 seconds to shoot 12-year-old boy
- House ethics panel defers campaign finance investigation of New York Rep. Grimm
- Boston airport’s ‘naked man’ remains behind bars
- Ferguson testimony filled with variations
- Test vaccine to fight Ebola promising