Autism Starts Before Birth, Brain Study Shows

Image by Vince Alongi | Wikimedia

Image by Vince Alongi | Wikimedia

The symptoms of autism are sometimes not obvious until a baby is a toddler, but the mental disorder seems to begin well before birth.

Better understanding of the brain

A new study shows that problems in brain development starts in the womb.

Scientists say patchy changes in the developing brain long before birth may cause symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The study highlights evidence that something before birth may cause the disorder, at least in some cases.

American scientists examined the brains of 22 children with and without autism. Their brains were donated to science after death.

Improving lives

The defects, detected with lab tests, were found in 90% of the children with autism compared with only about 10% of children without.

The scientists said abnormalities likely occurred long before birth.

The result of the study “gives hope as well as insight” that may explain why some toddlers with autism show signs of improvement if treated early.