A study found abnormal patterns of cell growth in autistic children, suggesting that autism starts before birth.
The study found abnormalities in the brain in ten out of 11 children with autism. The disorganized brain cells were discovered in brain tissue samples. The abnormalities were found in areas of the brain important for regulating social functioning, emotions and communication.
Defects that were found in the brain tissue samples were most likely formed during the second or third trimester of pregnancy, CTV reports.
This study is in its preliminary stages. Scientists are suggesting that larger studies be conducted to determine if the defects are truly common in autism or even in people without the disorder.
Scientists believe that genetics is one of the factors contributing to autism. Previous research has suggested that some factors associated with autism might include infections during pregnancy, pre-term birth, and fathers’ older age at conception.
Other scientists have suggested that autism may be linked to abnormalities in the brain’s frontal region, and some children’s problems begin before birth.
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