Study Finds That Autism Development Can Be Traced Back to the Second Trimester of Pregnancy

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A 2014 study has revealed that autism may begin during pregnancy.

Scientists analyzed postmortem tissue samples from children with autism as well as typically developed children. What they discovered is that, as far back as the second trimester, certain cells are not where they are supposed to be in the brains of children on the spectrum. During normal brain development in the womb, a child’s brain cells migrate to a specific part of the brain. However, in the brains of children with autism, this movement does not happen.

Though the study is small, it is also very exciting. This research has allowed scientists to pinpoint when this hitch in development appears, which will in turn help them understand why and how autism occurs.

We’re not sure whether this brain difference is caused by environmental or genetic factors yet, but this study is a good start in helping us figure that out.

Watch this video to learn more about this discovery.

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C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband and dog.