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October 3, 2017

Early Brain Imaging in Infants May Help Predict Autism

JAMA. 2017;318(13):1211-1212. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.13706

Infants at high familial risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) do not typically exhibit symptoms in their first year of life, but new research indicates that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may reveal signs of the disorder during this presymptomatic period. The findings point to a noninvasive method to detect autism at its earliest stages, when interventions may provide the most benefits.

An estimated 1 in 5 infants who have an older sibling with ASD develop the condition, compared with approximately 1 in 100 in the general population. Because the defining features of ASD tend to emerge over the latter part of the first year and into the second year, a diagnosis is not typically made until 24 months of age and beyond.

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