If a woman suffers from fever during her pregnancy, especially during the second trimester, then the baby born is at 40% increased risk of autism spectrum disorder. Babies exposed to maternal fever prenatally are more prone to develop autism, a recent study has claimed. The inference has showed that women who suffered from three or more fevers after the 12th week of pregnancy are at 300% more at risk to give birth to an autistic child. Here’s what the study says.
“Our results suggest a role for gestational maternal infection and innate immune responses to infection in the onset of at least some cases of autism spectrum disorder," said first author Mady Hornig, Associate Professor at the Columbia University in New York, in the US.
The study appeared in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. In the study, team analysed 95,754 children born between the years 1999 and 2009. 583 cases of ASD identified among them. Mothers of 15,701 children suffered from fever in one or four-week intervals during pregnancy. ASD risk was increased by 34% when mother complained about fevers during pregnancy and 40% if they reported fevers during second trimester.
The risk increased in a dose-dependent fashion from 1.3-fold with one or two fever episodes after the twelfth prenatal week to 3.12-fold with three or more episodes, the researchers said. In addition, the risks were found to be minimally mitigated among the children of women who took acetaminophen -- anti-fever medications -- for fever in the second trimester.
And no cases of autism were reported among children of mothers who took ibuprofen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
"Future work should focus on identifying and preventing prenatal infections and inflammatory responses that may contribute to autism spectrum disorder," noted W. Ian Lipkin, Professor at the Columbia University.
(With IANS Inputs)