Navigation Links
Brain differences seen at 6 months in infants who develop autism

Researchers have found significant differences in brain development in infants as young as six months old who later develop autism, compared with babies who don't develop the disorder.

The study, by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and other centers, involved infants considered to be at high risk for autism because they had an older sibling with the diagnosis. The findings are published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The new research, which relied on brain scans acquired at night while infants were naturally sleeping, suggests that autism doesn't appear abruptly, but instead develops over time during infancy.

"We were surprised that there were so many differences so early in infancy," says co-author Kelly N. Botteron, MD, who is leading the effort at the Washington University study site. "As this study moves forward, we may want to scan babies at even younger ages so that we can try to see how early this pattern is emerging."

The new findings involved brain scans from 92 infants who had completed diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), a type of MRI scan,at 6 months and behavioral assessments at 24 months of age. Most also had additional scans at 12 months or 24 months or both.

By 24 months, 28 of the infants (30 percent) met the diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorders. Scans of the infants with autism revealed changes in the pathways that connect brain regions to one another. In particular, the researchers found changes in multiple fiber pathways in the brain's white matter.

"The idea that connections may be less organized in children with autism fits with our hypothesis," says Botteron, a Washington University child psychiatrist at St. Louis Children's Hospital. "These children may have some changes in the brain's gray matter, too, but the way their neurons speak to each other clearly seems to be disrupted."

The study represents the latest findings from the Infant Brain Imaging Study Network, a $10 million initiative funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"It's a promising finding," says Jason J. Wolff, PhD, first author of the paper and a postdoctoral fellow at UNC's Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities. "At this point, it's a preliminary, albeit a great, first step toward thinking about developing a biomarker for risk in advance of our current ability to diagnose autism."

AUDIO: Scientists know something is different about the brains of children with autism. And now in a study conducted Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the University of North...

Click here for more information.

As part of the study, the researchers analyzed 15 separate tracts of white matter and found significant differences in 12 tracts among infants who later developed autism. Those changes were not found in the high-risk children who did not develop the disorder. The brain changes were identified using fractional anisotropy (FA) assessed with DTI, which measures white matter organization and development, based on the movement of water molecules through brain tissue.

"Water's velocity and direction of movement is constrained by the structures around it," explains Botteron, professor of psychiatry and radiology at Washington University. "In these white matter tracts, the water must flow in particular directions parallel to the axons that connect brain cells. This highly constrained directional flow is characterized by higher FA."

FA was elevated at 6 months in infants who later were diagnosed with autism, but then changed more slowly over time. By 24 months, the infants with autism had lower FA values than those without the disorder.

"We were astonished by the scope of the differences," Botteron says. "We didn't expect that almost every pathway we examined was going to show these differences. That was very striking."

Contact: Jim Dryden
Washington University School of Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. Researchers see differences in Autism brain development as early as 6 months
2. UCLA scientists report link between traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder
3. Brain Scans May One Day Be Used to Predict Dementia
4. ASTRO develops brain metastases guideline
5. Smoking May Be Especially Tough on Mens Brains
6. Discovery predicts patient sensitivity to important drug target in deadly brain cancer
7. Its not solitaire: Brain activity differs when one plays against others
8. Why Human Brains Are Smarter Than Chimp Brains
9. Mouse Study Suggests Alzheimers Spreads Through Brain Like an Infection
10. New Anti-Clotting Drug May Cut Brain Bleeding Risk: Study
11. Alzheimers-Linked Brain Plaques May Affect Memory in Healthy People
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Brain differences seen at 6 months in infants who develop autism
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Jobs in hospital medical laboratories and ... offered by healthcare staffing agency Aureus Medical Group . These fields, ... 2015 among those searching for healthcare jobs through the company’s website, ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... new set of retro-fused, self-animating trailer titles with ProTrailer: Vintage. This newly styled ... These classically-influenced trailer titles work with any font, giving users limitless opportunities to ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Additional breast cancers found ... mammography, according to a study published online in the journal Radiology. Researchers said ... may necessitate a change in treatment. , Breast MRI is the most sensitive ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... Finnleo, a ... Christmas Eve on several models of traditional and far-infrared saunas. , For ... Spruce is the most traditional Finnish sauna wood, and Finnleo uses only European Grade ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Dr. John Pierce, Medical Director at ... hair loss treatment with the Capillus272™ Pro laser therapy cap. FDA cleared for safety ... fuller hair, without the need for surgery, prescription pills, or topical foams. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... --> --> ... The potential to save costs, improve treatment quality and ... fully exploited as yet. Here, particular emphasis is placed ... mobile tablet or directly at the patients, bedside. ... ) -->      (Photo: ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Research and Markets ( ) has announced the ... report to their offering. ... author the present scenario and growth prospects of the ... market size, the report considers revenue generated from the ... copper IUDs. The report forecasts the global intrauterine devices ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Bajos, November 26, 2015 Un ... de Bremachlorin para el cáncer avanzado.   ... la terapia fotodinámica de Bremachlorin para el cáncer avanzado. ... combina la inmunoterapia con la terapia fotodinámica de Bremachlorin ... Cancer Research . --> Clinical Cancer Research ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: