When a woman is pregnant, the baby is protected by the womb as well as the placental barrier. As an additional level of protection, immune proteins from the mother will cross over the placental barrier to shield the baby from foreign bacteria and infections.
Sometimes, however these immune proteins do their job a little too much and begin to not only attack bacteria and viruses, but also the brain tissue in the unborn baby’s head, according to a study published in Translational Psychiatry in 2013. (1)
A second study also found that the immune system proteins in attacking the brain can cause some of the symptoms of autism; most commonly the inability to communicate as well as repetitive behaviors.
Researchers believe that they have identified a type of Autism that can account for over 20% of children on the spectrum. They’re calling it MAR, or “Maternal Antibody Related”. (2)
Right now, Pediatric Bioscience is working with researchers to possibly release a test that will be able to detect whether or not the mother has the antibodies. If she does, it would be almost certain that the child will be born with Autism. If she does not have the antibodies, the child could still have autism, but it would be for other reasons.
If this is found to be accurate, which is seems to be at this point, we could be one step closer to finding out more about the cause of autism.
A cause is one step closer to a cure.