(Sacramento Bee) As much as 23 percent of autism cases may be linked to antibodies in some mothers that attack proteins that are critical to fetal brain development, according to a landmark UC Davis study.

Scientists at the UC Davis MIND Institute have identified specific antibodies linked to “maternal autoantibody-related” (MAR) autism, according to a study published this week in a scientific journal.

The findings could lead to development of a diagnostic test to tell a woman considering pregnancy whether she has antibodies associated with MAR autism. In the long run, the research could lead to the development of drugs to block the antibodies during pregnancy.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.