Some relatives of people with autism also display behaviours and brain differences associated with the condition, even though they themselves do not have it. This could make it easier to spot families at risk of having an autistic child. It could also help in the quest to identify the genetic and environmental triggers for the condition, though it seems these triggers might vary from country to country.
Eric Peterson of the University of Colorado in Denver had compared an MRI study of the brains of 40 parents with autistic children to that of 40 age-matched controls. And he told the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington DC that the parents who had an autistic child shared several differences in brain structure with their offspring.
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