Research hints at detecting autism risk in pregnant mothers

A recent study indicates that if a woman has previously had a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the risk of having a second child with ASD is more than in the general. Recently, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute made enormous strides toward ASD prediction and diagnosis. Estimates indicated that if a mother has previously had a child with ASD, the risk of having a second child with ASD is approximately 18.7 per cent, whereas the risk of ASD in the general population is approximately 1.7 per cent. Researchers worked in developing a physiological test to predict autism risk, which has a larger emphasis on Alzheimer's and neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, metabolites of the folate-dependent transmethylation and transsulfuration biochemical pathways of pregnant women were measured to determine whether or not the risk of having a child with autism could be predicted by her metabolic profile. Pregnant mothers who have had a child with autism before were separated into two groups based on the diagnosis of their child whether the child had autism or not. Then these mothers were compared to a group of control mothers who have not had a child with autism before. The researchers concluded that while it is not possible to determine during a pregnancy if a child will be diagnosed with ASD by age 3. The findings appeared in the Journal of Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.