Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Autism risk spotted at birth in abnormal placentas

Date:
April 25, 2013
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
Researchers have figured out how to measure an infant's risk of developing autism by looking for abnormalities in his/her placenta at birth, allowing for earlier diagnosis and treatment for the developmental disorder.

Abnormal placental folds signal autism risk at birth.
Credit: Original illustration by Patrick Lynch, Yale University

Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine have figured out how to measure an infant's risk of developing autism by looking for abnormalities in his/her placenta at birth, allowing for earlier diagnosis and treatment for the developmental disorder. The findings are reported in the April 25 online issue of Biological Psychiatry.

One out of 50 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but the diagnosis is usually made when these children are 3 to 4 years of age or older. By then the best opportunities for intervention have been lost because the brain is most responsive to treatment in the first year of life.

Senior author Dr. Harvey Kliman, research scientist in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at the Yale School of Medicine, and research collaborators at the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis, have found that abnormal placental folds and abnormal cell growths called trophoblast inclusions are key markers to identify newborns who are at risk for autism.

Kliman and his team examined 117 placentas from infants of at-risk families, those with one or more previous children with autism. These families were participating in a study called Markers of Autism Risk in Babies -- Learning Early Signs. Kliman compared these at-risk placentas to 100 control placentas collected by the UC Davis researchers from the same geographic area.

The at-risk placentas had as many as 15 trophoblast inclusions, while none of the control placentas had more than two trophoblast inclusions. Kliman said a placenta with four or more trophoblast inclusions conservatively predicts an infant with a 96.7% probability of being at risk for autism.

Currently, the best early marker of autism risk is family history. Couples with a child with autism are nine times more likely to have another child with autism. Kliman said that when these at-risk families have subsequent children they could employ early intervention strategies to improve outcomes. "Regrettably couples without known genetic susceptibility must rely on identification of early signs or indicators that may not overtly manifest until the child's second or third year of life," said Kliman.

"I hope that diagnosing the risk of developing autism by examining the placenta at birth will become routine, and that the children who are shown to have increased numbers of trophoblast inclusions will have early interventions and an improved quality of life as a result of this test," Kliman added.

Other authors on the study include Kaitlin Anderson, Kristin Milano, and Saier Ye of Yale University; and Cheryl Walker, Daniel Tancredi, Isaac Pessah, and Irva Hertz-Picciotto of UC Davis.

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (1 P01 ES11269 and R01 ES 015359), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program (R829388 and R833292), the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis, and the Yale University Reproductive and Placental Research Unit.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. The original article was written by Karen N. Peart. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Cheryl K. Walkera, Kaitlin W. Andersong, Kristin M. Milanoh, Saier Yei, Daniel J. Tancredie, Isaac N. Pessahc, Irva Hertz-Picciottob, Harvey J. Klimang. Trophoblast Inclusions Are Significantly Increased in the Placentas of Children in Families at Risk for Autism. Biological Psychiatry, 2013 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.03.006

Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Autism risk spotted at birth in abnormal placentas." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425091604.htm>.
Yale University. (2013, April 25). Autism risk spotted at birth in abnormal placentas. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425091604.htm
Yale University. "Autism risk spotted at birth in abnormal placentas." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425091604.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins