Beyond The Fold: Autism Linked To Abnormal Placentas?

September 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Pediatricians are looking for signs of autism in babies, as the rate of the disorder remains at one in 88 children.

Skiing alongside 12-year-old Jaya Dominici, you wouldn't know that she's severely autistic, unless, you try to talk to her. Maria suspected her daughter was autistic at 18-months, but she wasn't diagnosed until three. "It was really like a baseball bat right to the head, because you know it's going to be forever," Maria Dominici, Jaya's Mother, said.

Early detection is critical, because "the brain is completely unformed at birth. We can change behaviors very early," Doctor Harvey J. Kliman, MD, PhD, a Research Scientist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Yale University School of Medicine said.

A new study examining the placenta, the organ that provides nutrients to the baby from the mother, may help doctors diagnose autism shortly after birth. Researchers analyzed placentas from 217 births and found that in families at high genetic risk for having an autistic child, there were more of these abnormal folds and creases.

Researchers won't know how many children, whose placentas were studied, will have autism for at least another year, but for Maria, it would have helped me to get earlier intervention," Dominici said. The study is a joint effort by researchers at Yale University's School Of Medicine and the University Of California at Davis. Doctor Kliman says the test will be available in the next few months. You may also be interested in learning that boys are four- to-five times more likely to have autism than girls.

If you would like more information, please contact:

Madonna Fasula, A.P.R.N

Yale University School of Medicine

203-764-9131


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