Washington University researchers make autism breakthrough for high risk infants

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A new study about infants and autism is giving families new hope. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine and elsewhere have made a major discovery about high risk infants who have siblings with the mental disorder.

"We've shown using brain MRI in the first year of life that we can predict which infants who are at high risk will eventually receive a diagnosis of autism by looking at changes on the brain scan between six months and twelve months," said Dr. John Pruett, a well respected psychiatrist at Washington University.

The breakthrough does not cure or prevent autism, but makes it possible to offer treatment a lot sooner. That could possibly help improve the lives of babies with the condition. The study has an 80 percent accuracy rate. More work needs to be done before its findings can be used in clinical trials.