At Least 17 Percent of Americans Now Oppose Mandatory Vaccination
How did we get here?
But earlier studies found a significant association between first-trimester exposure to antidepressants and autism spectrum disorder in children, sparking some About 2 percent of the kids exposed to antidepressants were diagnosed with autism . The analysis included matching moms who took
In research gauging links between autism and a range of environmental factors (including air pollution, cigarette smoking, stress and poor nutrition), studies that A woman' s antidepressant use may well be one of many factors that may nudge her baby in the direction of a "suboptimal outcome" such as
Why Autism Affects Boys More than Girls
Researchers have identified one reason why the developmental disorder is more common among boys than among girls While the definition of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has changed over the years, one thing has remained relatively constant: the fact that rates of ASD are anywhere from two to five times higher among boys than they are among girls.Until recently, brain experts haven’t focused much on the possible gender-based reasons for this difference. Now, in a report published in JAMA Psychiatry, scientists point to one possible explanation for the discrepancy.
The study doesn’t prove antidepressants cause autism . It also doesn’t explore the potential harms of untreated depression or assess whether remedies other Pregnant women who do take SSRIs should be reassured by the findings from this study and others that suggest the added autism risk linked to
association between antidepressant use and autism diagnoses in children, but she was surprised that it was so high for the leading class of antidepressants . Center in Boston who was not involved in the research, isn’t at all surprised at the strong link between SSRI use and autism in children.
"For a woman who needs to take this medication for her mental health and for her psychiatric stability, these results certainly suggest she shouldn't go without treatment," said Dr. Simone Vigod, senior author of one study and a psychiatrist at Women's College Hospital in Toronto.
Depression during pregnancy can be dangerous for both mother and child. Pregnant women with untreated depression are more likely to have severe postpartum depression, and their children are more likely to be born prematurely or at a low birth weight, Vigod said.
But earlier studies found a significant association between first-trimester exposure to antidepressants and autism spectrum disorder in children, sparking some concern about prescribing the drugs to pregnant women, researchers explained in background notes.
Doctors May Be Able to Predict Autism Risk Much Earlier
Researchers used brain scans to come up with a formula for predicting which babies, from as young as six months old, might be at higher risk of developing autism.Experts say that may be too late in terms of treating or minimizing the effects of autism, since whatever brain changes responsible for them have already taken place. However, a new report in the journal Nature may give worried parents new hope.
But earlier studies found a significant association between first-trimester exposure to antidepressants and autism spectrum disorder in children “Our study suggests the risk of antidepressant use is lower than we previously feared, but each case must be considered on its own merits,” D’Onofrio said.
Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy Tied to Autism Risk. One study published in the November 2011 Archives of General Psychiatry that included nearly 300 children with autism spectrum disorders found double the risk of autism when the mother had used SSRIs, with a stronger link to SSRI use during
Two separate research teams suspected that those earlier findings might have been flawed if all the different factors that contribute to autism hadn't been weeded out, so they set to work on more detailed analyses. One team focused on a set of Canadian children, while the other evaluated a group of Swedish children.
Vigod and her team reviewed almost 36,000 Canadian children, just over 2,800 of whom were exposed to antidepressants in the womb. About 2 percent of the kids exposed to antidepressants were diagnosed with autism.
The analysis included matching moms who took antidepressants against those who didn't based on a series of 500 different variables in their life and health, Vigod said.
The researchers also compared siblings born with antidepressant exposure against brothers or sisters with no exposure in the womb. They also compared the babies of moms who stopped antidepressant use before pregnancy against those whose mothers continued using and those who never took the medications.
Could Infections Cause Autism?
A new study supports the argument that infections during pregnancy may cause some cases of autism. Women who had active infections with genital herpes early in pregnancy were twice as likely to have a child with autism than women who did not, a team of researchers found. © File photo of a pregnant woman. Image: File photo of a pregnant woman The findings, published in the journal mSphere, add to evidence that inflammation during pregnancy may affect the brain of a developing fetus.
Some studies also look at the link between antidepressant use in men and autism in their children. These data give insight into the genetic link between depression and autism because a father’ s medication use cannot affect his child directly. What kind of study would prove that antidepressants
Why autism link headlines may be overly alarming 2:27. Taking antidepressants during pregnancy may slightly increase the risk of having a child with autism , but the " Use of antidepressants , specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, during the second and/or third trimester increases
Another team performed a similar evaluation of more than 1.5 million children born in Sweden. These researchers performed the sibling comparison and the comparison between mothers conducted in the other study. But they also did an analysis considering whether the children's fathers had taken antidepressants during pregnancy.
"If that was associated with the problems in the offspring, it couldn't be due to the exposure during pregnancy, but rather due to factors that lead either parent to have depression and use the medication," explained senior study author Brian D'Onofrio. He's a professor of developmental psychopathology at Indiana University Bloomington.
Both teams came to the same conclusion -- the increased risk of autism disappeared when all other factors were taken into account. D'Onofrio's team also found that a pregnant woman's antidepressant use was not related to an increased risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in her children.
Concern about antidepressant use has stemmed from the fact that the medications can cross the placenta and get into the brain of a fetus, potentially affecting future development, Vigod said.
Autism risk in very young babies may be detected in brain fluid
It may be possible to predict autism in infants as young as 6 months who have older siblings with the disorder, according to a new study. Parents of children with autism take note. It may be possible to predict autism in infants as young as 6 months who have older siblings with the disorder, according to a new study by a national network of researchers.Infants in such families are at increased risk of developing autism, which is typically diagnosed when a child is 2- to 3-years-old and develops symptoms such as challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, delayed speech or nonverbal communication.
In the new study , depression in moms was associated with a 20 percent increased risk of autism , she said. Of the previous studies that have looked for a link between the development of autism in children and antidepressant use during pregnancy, some — but not all — have found that there is an
Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy Linked to Higher Risk of Autism . The study focused on one type of antidepressant , selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of Confusing the issue is the question of whether it is the SSRI or the underlying depression that the drug is prescribed
However, genetics also likely play a huge part in autism risk, and must be considered, she said.
"It's known that autism and depression and anxiety and other psychiatric illnesses share some genetic components," Vigod said. "It could be that a child born to a mom who took an antidepressant might have a higher risk simply because there's a genetic predisposition that has nothing to do with the drug."
Women fighting depression also might be more likely to engage in behaviors that could affect their pregnancy, Vigod added. They might smoke, drink, eat unhealthy foods, or not get enough sleep.
Both Vigod and D'Onofrio said their findings do not close the book on this debate. Follow-up studies are needed to confirm their results.
Thomas Frazier, chief science officer of Autism Speaks, agreed. "It's really too early to say anything to prospective mothers based on this study," Frazier said. "I wouldn't want to get too excited in either direction."
One thing these results do highlight is the need to screen pregnant women for depression, D'Onofrio said.
Pregnant women diagnosed with depression may be able to receive psychotherapy instead of medication, but that's a discussion that needs to take place between a woman and her doctor, he said.
"Our study suggests the risk of antidepressant use is lower than we previously feared, but each case must be considered on its own merits," D'Onofrio said.
Dr. Andrew Adesman is chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics for Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y. He said the two studies "should provide further reassurance for women to continue taking their antidepressants when pregnant, if that is what their doctor has recommended."
The studies "are also an important reminder to both the public and to medical professionals how important it is to control for as many relevant clinical factors as possible," Adesman added.
Both studies were published April 18 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers have ditched the autism-vaccine theory. Here’s what they think actually causes it. .
<p>Of all the issues doctors have explored in children’s health, none has been more exhaustively researched than the question of whether vaccines are linked to autism. After hundreds and hundreds of studies in thousands of children, “We can say with almost as much certainty than anybody could ever say that vaccines don’t cause autism,” Mayo Clinic autism researcher Dr. Sunil Mehta told me.</p>Of all the issues doctors have explored in children’s health, none has been more exhaustively researched than the question of whether vaccines are linked to autism.