In 2014, substantial advancements in autism research included a meta-analysis disputing any correlation between vaccines and autism, physical evidence of autism existing in prenatal development, the ability to reduce autism symptoms with food, and a connection between cerebellum injury and autism, according to Autism Speaks. By studying baby siblings, researchers discovered more early red flags to detect autism, and in separate studies, found a link between gastrointestinal conditions and the disorder.
After years of dispute, researchers carefully examined 10 studies that involved over 1.2 million children and determined there is not an increased incidence of autism after receiving any vaccine. To the contrary, there is a slight decrease in the likelihood of demonstrating signs of autism after receiving the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, explains Autism Speaks.
Studying the postmortem brain tissue of 11 children with autism and 11 children without autism, scientists discovered a common abnormality in the prenatal brain development in those with the disorder, notes Autism Speaks. Over 90 percent of the children with autism displayed atypical development in the layers of the cerebral cortex, an area that forms in utero, compared to just one of the 11 children who were not on the autism spectrum. Scientists anticipate that in the future, early intervention can help retrain these areas of the brain.