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Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

Pregnancy and New Risks for Autism

By April 9, 2012

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The recent CDC report on autism rates, which found that one in 88 children may have autism, left many people asking why.

Three studies published in Nature may provide one answer, at least in some cases. These researchers found several gene mutations that increase a child's risk of developing autism and that the risk increases with older parents, especially if a child's father is over 35 years old.

Although these genetic mutations are rare, some experts think that we will find many more mutations in the next few years.

Of course that doesn't mean that researchers will stop looking for other causes and associations.

To highlight that fact, a new study is being published in the May issue of Pediatrics, "Maternal Metabolic Conditions and Risk for Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders," that looked at children in the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) study.

The researchers found "a strong association between metabolic conditions during pregnancy (diabetes, obesity and hypertension), and autism spectrum disorder or developmental delays." Specifically, of 1,004 children aged 2 to 5 years in the study, 517 children had autism, 172 children had other developmental disorders, and 315 were developing typically, and obese mothers had 1.6 times the chance of having a child with autism, and were more than twice as likely to have a child with another developmental disorder. Mothers with diabetes were 2.3 times more likely to have a child with developmental delays.

The researchers conclude that "the rising rates of obesity and diabetes may be directly associated with neurodevelopmental problems in children, and that these data, therefore, raise serious public health concerns."

Related:
CHARGE study homepage
Responses to the new CDC Report on Autism

Comments
April 10, 2012 at 12:32 pm
(1) Cassa says:

Had been recently reading a study from stanford that seemed to suggest that Type 2 diabetes may also have an autoimmune component. ( If anyone is interested in the study let me know and I will see if I can track it down)
Interestingly other studies seemed to suggest that autoimmune diseases in the mother also appear to increase the childs risk of developing autism.
Nueroinflammation has been frequently found in children with autism

So A predisposition to autoimmune dysfunction seems to be a risk factor

.Is it possible that the various immune stimulants/aluminium etc in the increased vaccine schedule may in fact damage the autoimmune system of those who are already vulnerable to autoimmune dysfunction?

I am aware of one study that showed that mice bred to have a tendency to autoimmune dysfunction reacted differently/negatively to thimerosal compared to those bred to have normal immune systems.Anyone know whether aluminium has a similar effect?.

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