Autism :: Placenta could hold key to early diagnosis of autism

Placental abnormality may hold the key for early detection of autism, a study finds.

Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have discovered that an abnormality in the placenta could possibly help physicians to diagnose the condition at birth, rather than the standard age of two or older.

Autism is a developmental disorder that has a profound effect on socialization, communication, learning and other behaviors, and has its onset early, usually in infancy. Also the earlier the diagnosis is made, the greater the treatment impact.

The researchers observed an unusual pathologic finding in the placentas from children with Asperger Syndrome, an ASD condition which is like autism, and impairs the ability to relate to others.

Their study found that the placentas from ASD children were three times more likely to have the inclusions.

“We knew that trophoblast inclusions were increased in cases of chromosome abnormalities and genetic diseases, but we had no idea whether they would be significantly increased in cases of ASD,? senior author on the study, Harvey J. Kliman said.

?These results are consistent with studies by others who have shown that ASD has a clear genetic basis,” he said.

Trophoblast inclusions reflect abnormal folding of microscopic layers in the placenta and appear to result from altered cell growth.

The researchers are quite hopeful that this discovery will open new doors for an early detection of the ailment, and hence will allow a better and a more successful treatment.

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