Search This Blog

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Placentas, Early Diagnosis, and Abortion

On the Ivanhoe Newswire, Dr. Harvey Kliman talks about his research on abnormal folds in the placenta as a way to identify children who are at risk for autism.
How significant is this in helping with the early detection of autism?

Dr. Kliman: Before this test, the PlacentASD test, as we call it, there is no method at birth to know this at all. There is zero method, so parents would normally, if they do not have a child with autism already, not notice this until the child is two or three years of age. The CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, who looks at the frequency of autism and the ppolrevalence; how many families have it, they recently came out in March of this year with an estimate of 2%; 1 out of 50 children now born in this country are diagnosed with autism. They have actually shown that sometimes families do not know until their child goes to school in kindergarten.
So, just help me here, how significant is that because there is no cure for autism. People, who are diagnosed, if that is the correct term with autism, live with that for their life and there are obviously therapies, etc. to try and help them. So, what is the significance of this?

Dr. Kliman: That is a great question and while it is true that the genetic basis for what causes autism is in these people, if we have early intervention, we can help these children become socialized, so they can fit in to the point where we cannot even tell that they have any condition. Let me also point something out, people have said to me, ‘can this test be used for prenatal diagnosis, diagnosis before delivery, because maybe a family would want to terminate a pregnancy.’ And I am completely against that. [emphasis added] The reason is, is that these children are exceptional. Many of them are very smart. There are many professors with autism at MIT right now. When we look at Google and Facebook and Microsoft, and maybe even Apple computer, we are talking about people who are brilliant; who are very creative, but they are not quite adapted to social interactions. They are not as empathetic as a normal person might be for example. If we can train children early to respond to someone being upset, or someone being hurt, we can take someone who is exceptional, and actually very smart, with spatial recognition and mathematics, and things like that, and have them be happier. That is why I think it is so important to make this diagnosis early to give these children, and then adults, the best chance possible to be productive members of our society.
Dr. Kliman's objections notwithstanding, it is highly plausible that a prenatal test would indeed lead to abortions.  In the majority of cases where amniocentesis indicates Down Syndrome, the pregnancy ends in abortion.