A recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics on November 28, came up with findings that didn’t find a connection between a mother having the flu during pregnancy and an increased risk of the child being born with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders).

The study was conducted at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland by a group of scientists lead by Ousseny Zerbo, Ph.D. It included 196,929 children born between 2000 and 2010, along with their mothers. The children were born at the gestational age of at least 24 weeks.


1,400 mothers (0.7 percent) from the study group were diagnosed with the flu during pregnancy, with 45,231 (23 percent) mothers being vaccinated against the influenza virus while pregnant. Out of more than 196,000 children that were part of the study, 3,101 were diagnosed with ASD, which makes 1.6 percent out of the whole study group.

The research results suggest that there’s no connection between hawing the flu during pregnancy (during last two trimesters) and ASD risk with children. However, the researchers have found a connection between mothers who were vaccinated against the flu during the first trimester of the pregnancy, and the increased ASD risk with children. It’s worth noting that the results regarding the flu vaccine during the first trimester and increased ASD risk weren’t statistically significant, thus making the results basically irrelevant.

The study cannot establish a clear causality between the flu virus and ASD because the research has lots of limitations. For instance, the ASD status wasn’t determined via standard clinical assessments; the researchers instead used medical records to determine the ASD status. This way of gathering data regarding ASD status isn’t really reliable.

The study states that “While we do not advocate changes in vaccine policy or practice, we believe that additional studies are warranted to further evaluate any potential associations between first-trimester maternal influenza vaccination and autism.”

There are lots of studies conducted in order to discover potential connections between children who were born with some form of ASD and the health issues their mothers had. One research found a connection between mothers suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and the increased chance of children being born with a form of ASD. PCOS affect one in 10 women, with the syndrome being defined as an abnormally high level of androgen in the ovaries with the high chance of cysts being created inside ovaries.

Other research found a connection between the ASD risk and the exposure to ultrasounds during the first trimester of pregnancy. Also, research suggests that the newborn children have a higher chance of suffering from ASD if they already have a sibling suffering from a form of ASD,

ASD can’t be spotted via regular blood tests or genetic lab tests. The disorder is hard to spot, and it takes lots of long observations as well as conduction of lots of tests in order to find it.

Via: techtimes.com


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