Studies released last week offer new perspective on autism spectrum disorder on multiple levels.
Research from a team at UC San Diego's Autism Center for Excellence showed that brain changes in the cortex during neonatal development suggest that autism starts in the womb. The findings add more to a pre-existing dialogue about when autism begins, and contributes to studies at UCLA that have shown genetic changes related to ASD occurring prenatally.
The CDC also issued a report on autism spectrum disorder last week, releasing the latest installment of a study of the prevalence of autism. The report, released once every two years, shows that the autism rate in the U.S. has surged -- according to the CDC, one in 68 children has ASD, but 30% from 2012. Since 2012, the has been a broadening of the spectrum for autism, which now includes what was formerly diagnosed as Asperger Syndrome.
What do these findings mean for children and adults with autism? How will resources and treatment plans change to reflect new research? How is autism spectrum disorder different today, and how will treatment continue to evolve?
Dr. Ricki Robinson, co-director of Descanso Medical Center for Development and Learning, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at USC’s Keck School Medicine; author of “Autism Solutions”
Eric Courchesne, Ph.D, Director of the Autism Center for Excellence at UCSD, professor in UCSD's department of Neurosciences, author of the study that points to prenatal detection of autism