Kay Hinton/Emory University Autism spectrum disorders affect one out of every 88 people



Autism can be identified in babies as young as two months, early research suggests.


US researchers analysed how infants looked at faces from birth to the age of three.


They found children later diagnosed with autism had shown diminished eye contact – a hallmark of autism – in the first few months of life.


The findings, reported in Nature, raised hope for early interventions to tackle autism, said a UK expert.


In the study, researchers led by Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta used eye-tracking technology to measure the way babies looked at and responded to social clues.


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These early markers are extremely important for us to identify – the earlier we can diagnose a child who has one of these disorders – such as autism – the earlier we can provide intervention and development”

Dr Deborah Riby Durham University


They found infants later diagnosed with autism had shown a steady decline in attention to the eyes of other people from the age of two months onwards, when watching videos of natural human interactions.


Lead researcher Dr Warren Jones told BBC News: “It tells us for the first time that it’s possible to detect some signs of autism in the first months of life.


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