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article imageStudy Finds Potential Link in Mom's Prenatal Health and Autism

By Nikki Weingartner     Feb 29, 2008 in Health
A recent study at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute and Center for Children's Environmental Health has found a possible link between a mother's immune system during pregnancy and regressive autism.
Despite the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the subcategories within that spectrum and specific criterion that define each one of those subcategories, autism can be simplistically classified into two subtypes: Early onset, where specific symptoms are noticed early on in a child's life; and regressive, where normal development begins but then disappears, or regresses, and the autistic patterns of social, language and other impairments present themselves.
Recently, scientists have found a potential link to regressive autism in animal brains exposed to IgG in that fetal brain cells showed a reactivity pattern when exposed to this antibody. Of the study group, the regressive autism fetal brain cells showed the most reactivity pattern, whereas the control group showed nothing.
"We now know we should be looking for the clues to the onset and pathology of autism much earlier than was initially assumed. Future studies should consider the immune system interactions between mother and child as a focal point in creating greater understanding of, and eventually finding effective preventions for, this complex neurodevelopmental disorder."
This does not provide conclusive evidence by any stretch that autism is directly linked to a pregnant woman's health, however, it does help guide research in promising new directions in that it is the first study to take on maternal immunology as an underlying cause of autism.
It could be the milestone that would facilitate prenatal testing and treatment to prevent regressive autism.
The study will be published as Maternally Derived Antibodies Specific for Fetal Brain Proteins[/i in the March 2008 issue of Neurotoxicology
More about Autism, Pregnancy, Antibody
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