By examining the placenta, autism could be detected at birth. One in 50 US children are diagnosed with autism. Unfortunately, it can take years to detect.
Doctors hope that early diagnosis will lead to new and more effective treatment. New research may provide the answer to early detection.
The research was a joint effort between Yale University’s School Of Medicine and the University Of California.
As reported by King 5, scientists studied the placentas from 217 newborn babies. Some of the placentas were found to have unusual creases or folds.
The researchers compared their results with the participants’ family history. They found that a majority of the creased placentas came from participants who were at high risk for autism.
The babies will be assessed throughout the next two years for signs of autism. Researchers predict that the babies with unusual placentas will develop autism.
Autism includes a number of developmental disabilities, classified as Autism Spectrum Disorders. The disorders include autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, and some forms of pervasive developmental disorder.
Children are generally diagnosed with autism before the age of three. Symptoms usually begin when children are 18 to 24 months old.
Autism has a variety of symptoms which can differ in severity. Most autistic children avoid contact, are difficult to engage, and display unusual reactions to stimulus.
As reported by the Centers for Disease Control, autism can be difficult to diagnose. Doctors often have to observe the child’s development and behavior for months, or even years.
Doctors have found that early intervention is successful for many autistic children. By examining the placenta, autism could be detected at birth.
Dr. Harvey J. Kliman explains that the “brain is completely unformed at birth.” Early diagnosis will allow therapists to work with children as they develop their behavior and social skills.
Autism is a different experience for every family. If the new research is correct, placentas may help detect autism much earlier, offering more treatment options.
[Image via Wikimedia]