Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Autism linked to antibodies in maternal blood

From the LA Times

Probably not the last word on this subject, actually I am positive that it isn't the last word on the cause of Autism but still interesting.

Abnormal antibodies in maternal blood that bind to fetal brain cells may contribute to the development of autism, according to two studies from the UC Davis MIND Institute.

Immunologist Judy Van de Water and her colleagues isolated a form of antibody called immunoglobulin G, or IgG, from 61 mothers of autistic children and found that in seven cases, it bound to two proteins in fetal brain tissue. Six of those mothers had children with regressive autism, in which children appear to develop normally for the first year or two before developing symptoms such as loss of social or language skills.

The team also extracted IgG from 62 mothers whose children were healthy. None of those antibodies were able to bind to fetal tissue proteins.


The study was published online Tuesday(ed. 14 Feb 2008)by the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

This isn't the end all / be all of autism research by far, but I am excited about the discovery because it potentially opens up a way to screen for the risk of developing at least one form of autism. It may also allow for a preventative treatment in which a different molecule blocks the antibodies from binding thereby reducing or eliminating the risk. I don't think it will lead to a cure but I could be wrong.

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