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St. Louis Autism Research Leads to Earlier Diagnosis in Children

Currently, autism is diagnosed in one out of 68 children - less than half the rate back in 2000.

April 02, 2018 - 8:54 am
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - There's word that autism cases may be plateauing, largely because of genetic research being done right here in St. Louis.

Currently, autism is diagnosed in one out of 68 children - less than half the rate back in 2000.

What's more, Washington University School of Medicine researcher Dr. John Constantino has been studying ways to diagnose autism much earlier.

“Particularly the erosion in a child’s eye contact - the allocation of time that they make to the social world around them - is something that we’re starting to be able to detect as early as two months of age,” he says.  

Constantino says incidents of autism are about half of what they were back in 2000, but was asked why boys are impacted much more than girls.

“We’re pretty sure that most girls are protected from most forms of autism, so they may be carrying genetic liabilities for autism, but are better able to handle them and develop, typically, than boys,” he says.

Meanwhile, look for local businesses that light up their buildings in blue to mark World Autism Awareness Day, kicking off April as Autism Awareness month.