The PlacentASD® Test at Birth Predicts Subsequent Behavioral Outcomes

Thursday, May 12, 2016: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Hall A (Baltimore Convention Center)
K. K. Quinlan1, K. O. Olive2, K. M. Milano2 and H. J. Kliman2, (1)Yale College, Yale University, New Haven, CT, (2)Dept. Ob/Gyn, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Background:   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average age of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis in the US is over 4 years old, although methods are available to make the diagnosis at 2 years old. Early diagnosis and intervention have been shown to improve developmental outcomes in children at a time when their brains are most responsive to modification. The PlacentASD® Test diagnoses ASD risk status at birth by evaluating the placenta of the newborn.

Objectives:   We investigated the relationship between PlacentASD®-determined ASD risk status and the attainment of age-appropriate developmental milestones.

Methods:   Fourteen newborn placentas were evaluated for the frequency of trophoblast inclusions to determine ASD risk status. Children were dichotomously divided into low-risk (having the same risk of developing ASD as the general population) or high-risk (having an increased risk of developing ASD). Two families were unable to be interviewed, both of which were determined to have children at low-risk for developing ASD. The remaining twelve families were interviewed between 2 and 24 months following delivery to assess motor (movement and physical development), language/communication, cognition (learning, thinking, and problem solving), and social/emotional behaviors of their child using published CDC milestone guidelines. The interviewer was blinded to the PlacentASD®results. Children were characterized as either neurotypical (achieving all age-appropriate behavioral categories) or delayed (delayed in any one or more behavioral categories). The Fisher exact probability test was used to compare the group outcomes.

Results:   Of the twelve families who were interviewed, 5 children were at high-risk of developing ASD, while 7 children were at low-risk of developing ASD, as determined by PlacentASD® testing. All of the low-risk children were reported by their parents as having reached all appropriate behavioral milestones, while three of the five high-risk children had been diagnosed with developmental delays prior to 20 months of age. The other two high-risk children had reached all behavioral milestones at the time of the interview. Interestingly, two of the high-risk, developmentally delayed children, had undergone early intervention and progressed sufficiently to exhibit age appropriate behavioral milestones by the time they reached their second birthdays. Children designated as low-risk by the PlacentASD® Test were 4.5 times more likely to achieve normal developmental milestones compared to children designated as high-risk for ASD (LR: 4.5, 95% CI: 1.33–15.3; p = 0.045).

Conclusions:   A low-risk determination by the PlacentASD® Test appears to predict neurotypical behavioral outcomes in children up to 24 months of age, while a high-risk determination poses a 4.5 times increased likelihood of children exhibiting developmental delays. Knowing that a child is at increased risk of developing ASD will allow parents and healthcare providers to initiate early intervention, which has the potential to normalize behavioral milestones.