Autism | Fit Pregnancy


Autism Studies Raise More Questions

Autism is back with double the headlines this week—first with news that prenatal testing for the disorder is in the works, Britain's Guardian newspaper website reports. In addition, a new study out of the University of California, Davis, suggests that the cause of the disorder is environmental.

Autism Detection Neglected

Pediatricians and parents need to be more aware of the first signs of autism, two new studies suggest. That's because early intervention can improve a child's development and in some cases even reverse the disorder. In a study of Atlanta children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)--which include classic autism as well as its milder forms, such as Asperger syndrome--researchers found an average 13-month delay between first evaluation and diagnosis.

Very Early Detection of Autism: New Hope For Treatment

Autism researchers who specialize in early intervention have a new weapon in their arsenal: the ability to recognize clues to the syndrome in high-risk babies as young as 3 or 4 months. By initiating intensive therapy with infants and their parents, therapists hope to prevent a diagnosis of actual autism at 2 or 3 years.

Decoding Autism

Worry has always been a side effect of pregnancy. But one anxiety--will my baby be normal?--has recently come to include a new concern: autism. First identified in 1943, the disorder is commanding unprecedented interest, mostly because of the reported rise in its incidence, but also because its origins lie in the fascinating crux between genes and the environment. "Autism is primarily genetic, but something beyond genes is also involved," says pediatric neurologist Andrew Zimmerman, M.D., an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine