Markers of Autism Risk in Babies (MARBLES)
Co-Investigator: Assistant Research Professor Cheryl Walker, M.D.
Research funding: National Institute of Health, P01 ES011269
The MARBLES (Markers of Autism Risk in Babies) Study is a longitudinal study that picks up where CHARGE leaves off. Because of the high recurrence rates in siblings (7-15%), the MARBLES Study will enroll 200 mothers who have a child with autism, and who are either pregnant or likely to become pregnant. These women are followed through their pregnancies, and their babies are followed through the first three years of life to ascertain development of autism. About 15-25 of the children will be expected to develop full syndrome autism, and another 10-20 or more may be on the broader spectrum. Through prospective collection of specimens, symptom diaries, interviews, and medical records, we will document exposures and evaluate changes during pregnancy and early infancy. By linking these data with state-of-the-art longitudinal behavioral assessments of the children, we aim to identify early biomarkers for autism. This study will integrate the biologic and environmental exposure information with the child development measures.