February 8, 2005

Study Links Autism and Mother's Illnesses during pregnancy

Study Links Autism and Mother's Illnesses
Mon Feb 7, 2005 04:00 PM ET

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Expectant mothers suffering from asthma, allergies or a type of skin disease have a higher risk of giving birth to an autistic child, a study said on Monday.
Asthma, allergies and psoriasis symptoms during pregnancy -- especially if diagnosed in the second trimester -- doubled the risk of autism in children compared to children who were not afflicted, researchers from Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, said.

Autism is a mysterious condition that strikes roughly six in 1,000 children, mostly boys, and is associated with diminished social skills and an adherence to routines.

The study looked at 88,000 children belonging to the Kaiser Permanente health plan born in Northern California between 1995 and mid-1999, 420 of whom were diagnosed with autism.
The researchers said there was no statistical link between autism in children and 44 autoimmune diseases in mothers, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis. The exception was psoriasis, which doubled the risk of autism.

Previous research has suggested there may be a link between autoimmune disease during pregnancy and autism, because autistic children often have high levels of autoimmune response chemicals in their bloodstreams. Women make up 78 percent of patients with autoimmune diseases, where the body's immune system attacks its own tissues.

The report, which was published in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, speculated that there may be a common underlying genetic cause to such ailments as asthma and autism.

Or, because the mother's condition was frequently diagnosed in the second trimester, the flare-up may have caused her immune system to produce more cytokines, which are associated with inflammation and could have damaged fetal brain development.


Anonymous said...

I have just found your website a few days ago. My son Liam is 17mths old and I think he may have autism. And I just found this blog about psoriasis. I do have psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I am so scared and nervous about Liam possibly having autism. I know if he does we will deal with it the best we can, but I did not want either of my children to have to go thru any of this kind of thing. I have been reading parts of your blog and am interested. Kind of ironic, the first thing I see when I come here is an adorable little red headed boy, which Liam is also a redhead.
I was trying to find your e-mail addy to e-mail you but cannot locate it. Can you send me an e-mail so we can chat? jbuchana@uiuc.edu
Thanks for all the info you put out there.

Anonymous said...

Intriguing. I was struck by a virus during wk13 of my pregnancy. It knocked me down for 3 weeks, followed by a really bad facial rash. I then had my first major attack of multiple sclerosis strike at wk17. Took a fair bit of panadine.

I was also exposed to a lot of intense carpet fumes & other building smells due to moving into a brand new appartment right at the beginning of the pregnancy as well.

Son diagnosed with HF autism/hyperlexia early this year 2007 at age 5.5. Currently integrating well into mainstream kindergarten with the assistance of an aide.

My husband is 19years older than me, was 44yo at time of conception.