A few factors related to childbirth, such as low birth weight or breech birth, are associated with a higher-than-average risk of autism, but none of them show a strong correlation with the disorder on its own.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Taking antidepressants while pregnant may slightly increase the risk of having a child with autism, reports a study published 4 July in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
A new study of twins proposes the controversial claim that environmental influences during early development are just as, if not more, important than genetics. But the findings are not substantially different from those of previous twin studies, however, and some experts are critical of the study’s statistics.
Women with a mild version of primary ovarian insufficiency, a disorder that mimics the symptoms of menopause, should be tested for a mutation that can lead to fragile X syndrome, according to a study published 15 June in Human Reproduction.
Taking prenatal vitamins for three months before conception and four weeks after could lower the risk of having a child with autism, particularly for women who carry certain genetic variants, according to a study published in the July issue of Epidemiology.
The placenta regulates the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brains of mice at a key stage in embryonic development, according to a study published 21 April in Nature. The results suggest that the fetal environment can influence the long-term mental health of children, including whether they later develop autism or schizophrenia.
Few scientists have a career that spans as wide a spectrum in autism research as Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of developmental psychopathology at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. And fewer still garner effusive compliments from those who don’t agree with them.