Lack of eye contact in infancy may predict autism

Eye-evasion has long been regarded as a hallmark of autism, but its potential value as an early diagnostic tool had not been explored before, a team of researchers wrote in the journal Nature.

They studied 110 infants from birth until two years, using eye-tracking technology to measure the way they looked at people's faces, and 13 of the children were later diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

"In infants later diagnosed with autism, we see a steady decline in how much they look at mum's eyes throughout the first two years of life, and even within the first six months," study co-author Warren Jones of the Emory University School of Medicine told AFP.

In some children, the signs could be observed already from the age of two months.

Making eye contact is considered an important part of human social interaction and development.

The research team not only uncovered that eye-evasion was present in children with