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Study: Autism risk may be linked to placental abnormalities

A new study published in Biological Psychiatry suggests a connection between a child's risk for developing autism and the creases and folds found in the placenta. Researchers found that, in families at higher genetic risk for autism, placenta were more likely to have abnormal cell growth, creases and folds.

The study could be a breakthrough in early biomarkers of autism, and for the medical significance of the placenta. Dr. Harvey J. Kliman, a research scientist at the Yale School of Medicine and lead author of the study, studied the autism-placenta connection with Yale colleagues for years before approaching Dr. Cheryl K. Walker, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Mind Institute at the University of California and co-author of the study, to broaden his research. Walker was dubious at first, but ultimately agreed to get involved, as the New York Times reports:

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