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Autism, one of the greatest mysteries of medicine – and the most pervasive development disorder that is characterized by the impairment of social interactions and communication, severely restricted interest levels and highly repetitive behavior – is prevalent in one to two per 1,000 people. Autism affects many parts of the brain, but how it happens is not clearly understood. Signs of autism become noticeable in the first three years of a child’s life, and early intervention can help children gain important social, communication and self-care skills they would otherwise lack. There is no single known cause of autism and there is no cure for the disease that requires a lifetime of support. Dr. Diane Chugani, professor of pediatrics and radiology at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine and director of the Translational Imaging Laboratory at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, is doing research to find the origins and a possible treatment for autism.