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Placental Signs May Augur Autism

Placental Signs May Augur Autism

NEW HAVEN, Conn., June 27 — 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.

"Although probably not functionally detrimental or causative, the greater occurrence of placental trophoblast inclusions observed in autism spectrum disorder individuals may reflect altered early developmental processes," the investigators wrote in the early online and July editions of Biological Psychiatry.

Trophoblasts are among the first cells to form during fetal development and are essential for implantation and placental development, the authors said.

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