(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.

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