“Autism begins in the womb”

Scary but hopeful at the same time.

Also re: 0.7mil estimated count (UK) suffering from autism– that is 1.2% of  the population– part propaganda, part over-diagnosis perhaps?

Scientists say they have new evidence that autism begins
in the womb.


Patchy changes in the developing brain long before birth may cause symptoms
of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), research suggests.


The study, in the New England Journal of
Medicine, raises hopes that better understanding of the brain may improve
the lives of children with autism.


They used genetic markers to look at how the outermost part of the brain,
the cortex, wired up and formed layers.
Abnormalities were found in 90% of the children with autism compared with
only about 10% of children without.
The changes were dotted about in brain regions involved in social and
emotional communication, and language, long before birth, they say.

The researchers, from the University of
California, San Diego and the Allen
Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, say their patchy nature may explain
why some toddlers with autism show signs of improvement if treated early enough.


They think the plastic infant brain may have a chance of rewiring itself to
compensate.


“The finding that these defects occur in patches rather than across the
entirety of cortex gives hope as well as insight about the nature of
autism,” said Prof Eric Courchesne, a neuroscientist at the University of
California San Diego.

Dr Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said:
“If this new report of disorganised architecture in the brains of some
children with autism is replicated, we can presume this reflects a process
occurring long before birth.
“This reinforces the importance of early identification and
intervention.”


Carol Povey, director of the National
Autistic Society Centre for Autism, said the study shed light on a complex
and often misunderstood disability.
 
“Better understanding of the early brain development of children with
autism could help us find new and more effective ways to support the estimated
700,000 people living with the condition across the UK,” she said.
 

….
regards

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