Abnormal placenta may reveal newborn’s autism risk

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As of today, there are no definitive tests to measure a child’s risk for developing autism.  Since early intervention and therapy is key for at-risk children, such a test could be critical for managing the early development of a child.

Now, researchers at Yale School of Medicine and the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis say they have found a safe and effective way to measure a newborn’s risk for developing an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – by looking at his or her placenta.

In a new study published in the online issue of Biological Psychiatry, senior author Dr. Harvey Kliman and his colleagues examined abnormal placental folds and cell growths called trophoblast inclusions, which acted as effective biomarkers for predicting which children were at risk for developing ASD.
“There are no methods at birth to diagnose this at all. Period,” Kliman, a research scientist in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale, told FoxNews.com. “The only advanced notice that a family might have a child with autism spectrum disorder is that they have a previous child (with autism) – which is sort of unfair, because it’s a high price to pay.”