Archive | Immune System RSS feed for this section

Maternal antibodies involved in aetiology of autism(s)

26 Mar

A new study released by John Hopkins indicates that maternal antibodies may play a role in the aetiology of autism:

[a]…possible explanation involves the transfer of reactive antibodies from the mother through the placenta to the fetus.

To investigate the latter, the team measured the antibody-brain reaction in blood samples from 100 mothers with and 100 mothers without a child diagnosed with autism.

Mothers of children with autism had a stronger reactivity or more areas of reactivity between antibodies and brain proteins compared with mothers without an autistic child. The presence of maternal antibodies also correlated with having a child with developmental regression, a primary feature of autism.

Things to note. No one, repeat no one is assigning _blame_ to mothers. I have no doubt there will be an attempt in some quarters to twist this into an attack on the sainthood of autism parents but its really not. Biology is biology. C’est la vie. Nobody in this study had the last name Bettlehiem.

Its a fascinating hypothesis though. Along with the latest cutting edge science that has found a genetic basis in approximately 40% of autism this hypothesis utilises good ideas in a rigorously scientific way. Of course, it may well turn out to be wildly wrong, but its a nice change to see some science that’s not about cure or vaccines but just interesting in and of itself.