A test for six antibodies in an expectant mom’s blood may predict with more than 99% certainty which children are at highest risk of developing autism.
In a study published in Translational Psychiatry, researchers report that 23% of all cases of autism may result from the presence of maternal antibodies that interfere with fetal brain development during pregnancy. The work builds on a 2008 study from the same scientists that first described the group of antibodies in mothers-to-be. The latest paper describes the specific antibodies and provides more detail on what they do.
“It’s very exciting,” says Alycia Halladay, Senior Director of Environmental and Clinical Sciences for Autism Speaks, who was not associated with the research.