Using cross-sectional MRI scans, the U.C.S.D. researchers found overgrowth in autistic subjects as young as one and a half. At two and a half, the autistic subjects’ brains were 7 percent larger on average than the control group’s. Although why, exactly, excessive brain growth is related to autism remains a mystery, the new work helps to confirm that signs of the disorder appear early—knowledge that could lead to detection and treatments, such as behavior therapy, at a younger age.
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