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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Research hints at predicting autism risk for pregnant mothers

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute continuing to make progress with research focused on autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 
A recent paper authored by Juergen Hahn -- professor and head of biomedical engineering -- and Jill James from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in the journal Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders discusses their research. The work focuses on predicting with approximately 90 percent accuracy whether a pregnant mother has a 1.7 percent or a tenfold increased risk of having a child diagnosed with ASD, according to a university article.

Hahn is a BMES member.

Currently there is no test for pregnant mothers that can predict the probability of having a child that will be diagnosed with ASD, according to the article. Recent estimates indicate that if a mother has previously had a child with ASD, the risk of having a second child with ASD is approximately 18.7 percent, whereas the risk of ASD in the general population is approximately 1.7 percent, it states.
 
“However,” Hahn said in the article, “it would be highly desirable if a prediction based upon physiological measurements could be made to determine which risk group a prospective mother falls into.”

Hahn's work in developing a physiological test to predict autism risk is part larger emphasis on Alzheimer's and neurodegenerative diseases at the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, and an example of how the interdisciplinary life science and engineering interface at Rensselaer offers new perspectives and solutions for improving human health.

Read more HERE.

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