A New Method Can Predict Autism in Babies as Young as 12 Months Old

February 15, 2017

(Quartz) – In most cases, autism can’t be diagnosed until children are two years old, but sometimes signs of the condition appear earlier. Usually, babies that have otherwise progressed normally will start showing subtle changes in behavior: difficulty focusing or speaking with others, or trouble pointing at objects. The trouble is, it’s hard to definitively say whether these patterns are reason for concern. Because doctors can’t confirm a diagnosis before a child is 24 months old, parents may be left feeling anxious without answers. However, new research (paywall) led by a team of scientists at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill suggests there may be a biomarker that would enable doctors to give parents a clear answer about their child’s condition (or lack thereof) and intervene with therapies early on if necessary.