Very recently, scientists at the UC Davis Mind Institute published a study that described 7 antibodies found in the blood of some mothers of autistic children, and much less often found in mothers of normally developing children. They suggested that these antibodies somehow got into the brains of developing fetuses, causing autism in the children. They even gave a name to this form of autism: maternal autoantibody-related, or MAR autism. If true, this study suggests that a test for these antibodies might predict whether or not a child will have autism. The study seems plausible, and it was published in a respectable journal called Translational Psychiatry. Unfortunately, though, the study and the way it has been promoted are plagued with problems. Is this a test that mothers should take? In a word, no.
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