Scientists narrow down the startling risk factors that can cause autism

In the past decade, researchers have come a long way in narrowing down which conditions may make autism more likely to develop. What they learn could lead to more sophisticated treatments for autism at its early stages, or even prevent the disorder from developing in the first place.

Autism Spectrum Disorder, or autism for short, is a disorder that can affect how the brain develops. It's characterized by social challenges, difficulties in communication and behavioral issues, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms usually appear in children between 12 and 18 months old. And the effects of autism can range from slight social challenges to severe cognitive impairment.

"If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism — everyone looks a little different," says Heather Volk, an assistant professor in the department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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7th September 2017