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Autism Begins as Brain Cells Altered in Womb, Study Finds

Autism begins when certain brain cells fail to properly mature within the womb, according to scientists who say the scattered pattern of the undeveloped cells may explain the wide range of symptoms seen in children.

The researchers, studying post-mortem brain tissue taken from kids, found that those diagnosed with autism missed key genetic markers for brain cells that are supposed to develop prior to birth. The defects occurred in regions that control emotion, communication, language and social comprehension, all functions impaired in autism, the researchers wrote.