Doctors may be able to predict a child's risk for developing autism by examining his or her placenta at birth.
Researchers at Yale University say abnormal folds on the placenta can show them which newborn babies have older siblings with autism. Babies who have a brother or sister with the disorder have nine times the risk of developing it, too.
It's too soon to tell whether the folds accurately predict which children will, in fact, someday be diagnosed with autism. However, if it proves true, it would allow treatment to start at the earliest possible age.
These findings are published in the Journal of Biological Psychiatry.
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