Study suggests autism can now be diagnosed at 14 months


  • As early as 14 months, autism spectrum disorder can be detected via standardized testing, according to a recently released study.
  • This would mean earlier intervention for the patient before any other connections set in and a chance for more improved development.
  • The testing which they employed to make early detection of the disorder possible managed to record diagnoses with an accuracy of more than 80 percent.

A new study in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics recommends screening children for autism at an earlier age, that is, as early as 14 months.

Autism is a spectrum disorder that can affect social, behavioral and communication skills. During regular visits to the doctor, guidelines recommend screenings as early as 18 and 24 months. Early detection and diagnosis could spell out earlier intervention which can significantly help a child’s development.

On Tuesday, Dr. David Agus told “CBS This Morning” that catching autism spectrum disorder early is of utmost importance because it can potentially improve the effectiveness of certain therapies. He added saying this study is very important and very optimistic in bringing earlier treatment to children.

“The hope is that we can influence the brain with behavioral therapy much earlier before those connections really start to kick in so these children with autism spectrum disorder can actually have better functions in later life,” explained Agus.

He also said that due to standardized testing that starts at 14 months, it was easier to detect autism in this particular study.

If delayed behavior is manifested in children at an early age, Agus said they will continue observing the child until ages 2 to 3 to make sure it is, in fact, autism spectrum disorder. Through standardized testing, an 84 percent accuracy of diagnosed autism can be determined by age 14 months.

The study also revealed that 2 percent of the kids whom researchers initially thought had autism spectrum disorder went on to develop normally while 14 percent turned out to have another developmental disorder.

While little is still known about what causes autism, contrary to a lot of misinformation, vaccines definitely do not cause the disorder. There is evidence though of “significant genetic association” with autism, which says the older the parent, the higher the chances of a child having autism.

 “We think it’s involved in brain development in the first and second trimester, but that’s about it,” said Agus.

Meanwhile, a separate and recent study revealed that after fecal transplant was administered on patients, autism symptoms were reduced by 45 percent for up to two years.

Despite the study not being able to get rid of autism disorder, Agus still called the results ‘amazing’ because symptoms were dramatically improved thereby allowing children or adults to function better.


Source: CBS News

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