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Placenta may hold autism's earliest mark

Autism, a complex disability affecting social interaction and communication skills, typically emerges in children between 1 and 3 years of age. But autism is a so-called spectrum disorder—symptoms vary widely across individuals in both degree and kind. Early diagnosis is therefore challenging, yet critical for initiating specialized intervention programs, which have the greatest impact if begun as soon as possible.

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  • Flaws in Placenta May Be Early Sign of Autism

    The earliest indicator yet of autism may be the presence of flawed cells in the placenta, scientists have discovered. The findings could lead to earlier diagnosis of the developmental disorder that affects approximately one in every 200 children and can result in learning difficulties, speech problems and difficulty relating to people.

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  • Placental Signs May Augur Autism

    The placenta may hold clues to autism, researchers here reported. Preserved placentas from children later diagnosed with autism were three times more likely to contain trophoblastic inclusions (markers for cellular abnormalities) than are placentas from children with normal development, according to Harvey J. Kliman, M.D., Ph.D., of Yale, and colleagues.

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  • Scientists Seek Early Indicators of Autism

    However, earlier diagnosis can go a long way toward optimizing outcomes by allowing application of early intervention techniques, as well as helping parents to obtain necessary services and the time to adjust to the special needs of their child. In the past few years, diagnosis at an age of 2 years has become more reliable, but this still requires that parents are aware of the early warning signs and seek out a diagnosis.

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