Researchers Identify Differences in Facial Characteristics of Children with Autism

7 years 1 month 4 weeks ago Wednesday, October 19 2011 Oct 19, 2011 Wednesday, October 19, 2011 5:00:00 PM CDT October 19, 2011 in News
By: Kelsey Alumbaugh

COLUMBIA - A study by University of Missouri researchers found distinct facial differences between children with autism and typically developing children. The differences will enable researchers to further study people with autism spectrum disorders.

"If we can identify when these facial changes occur, we could pinpoint when autism may begin to develop in a child. Knowing that point in time could lead us to identify a genetic cause, a window of time when the embryo may be susceptible to an environmental factor, or both," said Kristina Aldridge, lead author and assistant professor of anatomy in the MU School of Medicine and the Thomson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. 

Children with autism have a broader upper face, including wider eyes; a shorter middle region of the face, including the cheeks and nose; and a broader or wider mouth and philtrum-the divot below the nose, above the top lip-than typically developing children.

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