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A potential biological marker for autism

Narrator:       This is Science Today. There is currently no biological marker for autism, but a multidisciplinary team of researchers at the University of California, Davis, MIND Institute, may have found one. David Amaral, who directs the institute, says they found that children who were later diagnosed with autism had excessive cerebrospinal fluid and enlarged brains in infancy.

Amaral:          We're very excited about this because, first of all, this is the first study that we know of where we've done imaging with the magnetic resonance imaging system at 6 months of age and then followed the children until they were ultimately diagnosed with autism and this marker, the increased cerebrospinal fluid, is something that's relatively easy to identify.

Narrator:       One of the advantages of having an early biological marker for autism is that children who get early intensive behavioral treatment do better. 

Amaral:          Their disability is decreased, their intelligence goes up and the likelihood that they'll have a life that will have much higher quality than other children goes up as well.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.