Searching for early signs of autism spectrum disorders

Researchers seek to identify biomarkers and behaviors to enable earlier diagnosis.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) continue to generate debate in the mental health field. This has been fueled in part by the ongoing controversy about whether childhood vaccines somehow trigger these disorders in some children. Although the Institute of Medicine has issued three comprehensive reports reviewing the scientific literature — the most recent published in 2004 — and each time concluded that vaccines are safe, the issue refuses to go away.

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