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June 27th, 2006

Autism Diagnosis at Birth?

bc_unpers_05_18.jpgResearchers from Yale University recently discovered biological markers which might indicate autism in babies - see the article from today’s headlines below.  This is a preliminary study and is not yet conclusive, but this research is very important in moving toward a medical diagnosis of autism and identifying and treating autism very early. 

rs_rogers.jpgIf you are interested in research that is going on right now for little ones (under 3 years), the MIND Institute has several exciting studies focusing on babies including looking at regression of symptoms, joint attention intervention, and looking at the importance of imitation in early development.  If you would like to enroll your child in any of these studies, click on the links for more information.

Here is the story:


Yale University Doctor Says It’s A Definite Warning Signal

Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have discovered what could be the earliest marker yet for autism — and in it’s in the placenta of children with the disease.

Their report, in the on-line issue of “Biological Psychiatry,” finds that certain changes in a placenta — changes caused by genetics — are likely to signal autism-like developmental problems in children.

Yale research scientist Dr. Harvey Kliman says, ”We found that children with autism were three to four times more likely to have this abnormal folding pattern than normal children.”

Kliman, who’s been studying placental problems for 20 years, says it’s not a one-to-one linkage. But it’s a definite warning signal.

According to Kliman, “It’s like the check engine light in your car … It’s basically saying something’s going on … Maybe you should have this checked a little more thoroughly.”

Kliman calls his research a preliminary finding from a small study. But it raises the possibility that autism could be diagnosed at birth, rather than at age 2, or older.

Kliman says, “It’s a marker that says hey, maybe you should stop, take a look at this child a little closer and try to figure out what’s going on.”

Kliman and his colleagues plan to do a larger, multi-center study of this possible placenta-autism link.

For more information, contact Dr. Kliman at harvey.kliman@yale.edu or visit Kliman’s Web site.

(© MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

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