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Autism Roundup

November 16, 2012

The incidence of autism has increased in recent years, and so have efforts to identify and treat it earlier.



The roots of autism. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Early screening for autism is becoming routine, but what should doctors recommend if they suspect it? A new study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry looked at the Early Start Denver Model, or ESDM, treatment on children 18 to 30 months old. Measuring brainwave activity when viewing faces is one test for autism. The researchers report that children who received ESDM treatment scored higher in this test than did those who hadn’t, and conclude that intensive early intervention for autism can be effective.

In related news, researchers report in the journal Child Development that at the age of 6 months, babies who would later develop autism behaved the same as other babies, and some couldn’t be distinguished until 14 to 24 months. Understanding when symptoms occur could lead to better diagnosis and earlier intervention. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

A new study suggests that 6-month-old babies who later develop autistic symptoms behave no differently than babies who don't develop symptoms. (Yogi/Wikipedia)