Study examines autism relationship with in utero Infection
Does exposure to maternal infection during pregnancy increase the long-term risk for major psychiatric disorders in the child?
Does exposure to maternal infection during pregnancy increase the long-term risk for major psychiatric disorders, including autism, in the child?
Findings in a retrospective study of a Swedish population from 1973-2014, suggested that exposure to infection in pregnancy significantly increased the risk for autism spectrum disorder and depression. Which means, maternal illness during pregnancy may be responsible for some portion of autism and depression in childhood and adulthood among the exposed offspring.
The study examined a total of 1 ,791,520 Swedish-born children (48.6% females and 51.4% males) were observed from birth up to age 41 years. Study findings suggest that fetal exposure to a maternal infection while hospitalized increased the risk for autism and depression, but not bipolar or psychosis, during the child’s life. These results emphasize the importance of avoiding infections during pregnancy, which may impart subtle fetal brain injuries contributing to development of autism and depression.
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