If you have ever had a child, either as a mother or as a father, you doubtlessly saw and experienced things with your first child that you never had considered before that day. The mystery that is childbirth is unlocked to a degree and seeing it happen fully informs every parent of just how difficult it is and just how much typically goes on during that process. When the child is born, both parents are overwhelmed with indescribable new feelings and they are completely enthralled with the new little person that has just entered the world.
The last thing that anyone would be thinking about during these special moments is the possibility that the child will someday be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder unless something went wrong during the birth. Perhaps the second-last thing that any parent will think about other than the mother for a few minutes is the placenta, as it is generally discarded and ignored for obvious reasons. Passing the placenta is basically the last step in a birth, and it’s not something that’s memorable when looking back on the experience.
However, the results of a recent study indicate that an analysis of the placenta could someday be a critically important step for parents who want to have an early idea of whether or not their child will ever be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The study was done by researchers at the University of California, Davis and at Yale University, and it looked at the potential relationship between autistic children and the condition of the placenta when they were born.
Specifically, the researchers analyzed placentas from over 200 births, and they found that families that carried a high genetic risk for autism tended to have placentas that had abnormal folds and creases. The researchers were clear in that they found that children who were at risk for autism had placentas that were seen as quite different from those for children who did not face this predefined risk.
It should be noted that the researchers will not know until next year how many of these children have actually been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. At that point, more definitive conclusions can be drawn and perhaps more specific factors regarding the development of autism will be determined.
If it turns out that abnormal folds and creases in the placenta are tied to the ultimate diagnosis of autism, it could lead to much earlier intervention for many children. As stated above, placentas are usually nothing more than afterthoughts in a delivery room. Any sign that can be identified and used will be a welcome development for everyone.
We have been representing families as New York medical malpractice lawyers for 42 years now, and we have seen the difficulties faced by them when they suddenly discover that their children are autistic. Any help they can receive at an early age would make a world of difference. The team at The Fitzgerald Law Firm hopes that this eventually becomes a study that leads towards to road of important findings.