Key Findings: Opioids Prescribed Just Before Pregnancy Associated With Autism
A study from the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , found that mothers who were prescribed opioids just before becoming pregnant were more likely to have a child with autism spectrum disorder or a child with other developmental disabilities and some autism symptoms. This study is among the first to look at associations between prescription of opioids in pregnancy and ASD and other DDs. More research is needed to better understand developmental outcomes among children whose mothers used opioids before and during pregnancy.
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Does Maternal Weight Affect A Child’s Autism Risk
Research from the University of Utah published in the November 2013 issue of Pediatrics suggests a potential link between excess pregnancy pounds and autism risk. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends women gain no more than 35 pounds during pregnancy . In the study, incremental 5-pound increases in weight above ACOG’s recommendation were linked to a slightly higher, yet significant risk for autism.
Previous studies indicate a possible connection to a woman’s pre-pregnancy body mass index , pregnancy weight gain, and a child’s risk of autism. One theory is that excess body fat may change a woman’s hormone levels or cause inflammation that affects fetal brain development. “Obesity rates and autism rates have both gone up over the past decades, yet that doesn’t mean the two are connected,” says Anna Maria Wilms Floet, M.D., a behavioral developmental pediatrician at the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Baltimore. The bottom line: “Women should watch their weight gain during pregnancy to prevent problems like diabetes and high blood pressure,” says Dr. Wilms Floet.
Exposure To Good Bacteria During Pregnancy Buffers Risk Of Autism
Animal study suggests prenatal exposure to microbes can counteract stress and influence brain development
Inoculation with Mycobacterium Vaccae, pictured here, had beneficial impacts on the neurodevelopment of offspring, a new animal study shows.
Newswise Giving beneficial bacteria to stressed mothers during the equivalent of the third trimester of pregnancy prevents an autism-like disorder in their offspring, according to a new animal study by University of Colorado Boulder researchers.
The study, published this month in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, marks the latest in a series of studies in animals and humans suggesting that exposure to certain immune-modulating microbes can dampen inflammation, positively impacting the brain and central nervous system.
Its among the first studies to suggest that such exposures during pregnancy influence neurodevelopment of a fetus and, while far more research is necessary, could open the door to new prenatal interventions.
It suggests that you could develop microbial interventions that lower the risk of neurodevelopmental syndromes like autism, said co-author Christopher Lowry, an associate professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology.
In humans, research has long shown that maternal stress during pregnancy prompts systemic inflammation in both the mother and fetus and is a risk factor for autism, said senior author Daniel Barth, a professor of psychology and neuroscience.
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Endogenous Opiate Precursor Theory
In 1979, Jaak Panksepp proposed a connection between autism and opiates, noting that injections of minute quantities of opiates in young laboratory animals induce symptoms similar to those observed among autistic children. The possibility of a relationship between autism and the consumption of gluten and casein was first articulated by Kalle Reichelt in 1991.
Opiate theory hypothesizes that autism is the result of a metabolic disorder in which opioid peptides gliadorphin and casomorphin, produced through metabolism of gluten and casein , pass through an abnormally permeable intestinal wall and then proceed to exert an effect on neurotransmission through binding with opioid receptors. It has been postulated that the resulting excess of opioids affects brain maturation, and causes autistic symptoms, including behavioural difficulties, attention problems, and alterations in communicative capacity and social and cognitive functioning.
What Is Mold Toxicity Syndrome
What medical and mold remediation professionals alike know as MTS is also known scientifically as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome in Water-Damaged Buildings , an on-the-nose name for a condition that prevents many individuals from clearing mold toxins encountered inside a building suffering severe water damage from their bodies as effectively as the majority of the human population. When mycotoxins linger in the body untreated instead of being immediately pulled out by various binding micro-agents and lodge themselves inside cells and tissue, a number of varieties of this toxic bodies can cause significant neurological damage. Thats when it becomes crucial to eliminate and all ongoing exposure to potential mold contaminations, lest the body continue to be infused with these damaging invaders.
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Autism ‘begins Long Before Birth’
Scientists say they have new evidence that autism begins in the womb.
Patchy changes in the developing brain long before birth may cause symptoms of autism spectrum disorder , research suggests.
The study, in the New England Journal of Medicine, raises hopes that better understanding of the brain may improve the lives of children with autism.
It reinforces the need for early identification and treatment, says a University of California team.
US scientists analysed post-mortem brain tissue of 22 children with and without autism, all between two and 15 years of age.
They used genetic markers to look at how the outermost part of the brain, the cortex, wired up and formed layers.
Abnormalities were found in 90% of the children with autism compared with only about 10% of children without.
The changes were dotted about in brain regions involved in social and emotional communication, and language, long before birth, they say.
The researchers, from the University of California, San Diego and the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, say their patchy nature may explain why some toddlers with autism show signs of improvement if treated early enough.
They think the plastic infant brain may have a chance of rewiring itself to compensate.
“The finding that these defects occur in patches rather than across the entirety of cortex gives hope as well as insight about the nature of autism,” said Prof Eric Courchesne, a neuroscientist at the University of California San Diego.
Reducing Exposure To Toxins
The scientific community has discovered evidence that environmental factors often play a role in developing autism. One Harvard study found that children born to mothers exposed to high pollution levels had twice the risk of ASD. Pregnant women can limit airborne toxins by wearing masks, filling their gas tank after dark, and staying indoors when air quality is low. Its best to avoid areas with high traffic, especially when exercising. For the duration of pregnancy, women should eliminate alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. Switching to green personal care products is wise to lessen exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. Some doctors also suggest avoiding canned foods, plastic water bottles, and excessive cell phone use.
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Can An Epidural Increase Autism Risk
A 2014 French study conducted on mice and published in the journal Science suggests that the use of spinal anesthesia during labor results in higher concentrations of chloride or salt in the brains of newborn mice. The authors hypothesize that this may increase the risk of autism in humans.
High chloride levels are essential to a baby’s brain development while in utero. During labor and delivery, a baby is exposed to oxytocin, the hormone that brings on contractions. Oxytocin acts as a diuretic and naturally lowers an infant’s chloride levels. Researchers believe epidurals may interfere with the release of oxytocin causing chloride levels to remain high after birth.
The study seems to support earlier findings from a 2012 clinical trial of 60 children with autism who saw some improvements in their behaviors after taking a diuretic that lowered their chloride levels. However, the Science study on epidurals and chloride was conducted solely on mice. While animal studies are important, the findings don’t always translate to people.
“For one thing, animals don’t have symptoms of autism in the same way that people do,” says Susan Hyman, M.D., division chief of neurodevelopmental and behavioral pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York and chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council of Children with Disabilities Autism Subcommittee.
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Another Piece Of The Puzzle Of How Marijuana Use Affects Childhood Outcomes
byAmanda D’Ambrosio, Staff Writer, MedPage Today August 10, 2020
Children exposed to marijuana in utero had a moderately elevated risk of developing autism spectrum disorder, according to a Canada-based retrospective study.
Mothers who used cannabis while pregnant had a 50% higher likelihood of having a child with autism , reported Daniel Corsi, PhD, of Ottawa Hospital in Ontario, and colleagues.
Hints of increased risk of intellectual and learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder were also seen, according to their paper in Nature Medicine. However, the analysis came with significant limitations and the researchers urged caution in interpreting these results.
Nevertheless, said Corsi in an email to MedPage Today ,”ur clinical recommendation based on these findings is for women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant to avoid the use of cannabis products.”
Torri Metz, MD, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the University of Utah, commented that this study adds to previous concerns about prenatal marijuana exposure’s potential effects on offspring.
“It is another piece of the puzzle,” Metz, who was not involved in this research, told MedPage Today. “It makes us worry about cannabis exposure in utero and whether it is influencing fetal neurodevelopment.” Metz also underscored the importance of interpreting these findings with caution, as this large population-based study was limited in its classification of substance use.
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Autisms Genetic Risk Factors
Research tells us that autism tends to run in families. Changes in certain genes increase the risk that a child will develop autism. If a parent carries one or more of these gene changes, they may get passed to a child . Other times, these genetic changes arise spontaneously in an early embryo or the sperm and/or egg that combine to create the embryo. Again, the majority of these gene changes do not cause autism by themselves. They simply increase risk for the disorder
Fetusm3m4 From Momm3m4 Show Increased Breakdown Of The Bloodbrainbarrier Compared To Fetusm3m4 From Momwt
We next investigated the differential impact of maternal genetics on the developing fetal brain. Significantly decreased expression of markers of the bloodbrainbarrier , namely, glucose transporter 1 and endothelial cell integrity, i.e., platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule was observed in Momm3m4Fetusm3m4 compared to MomWTFetusm3m4 . Decreased CD31 expression was not a result of reduced angiogenesis in Momm3m4Fetusm3m4 as evident by equal expression of CD31 in extra central nervous system tissue . Significantly increased albumin leakage was seen in perivascular spaces in the brain of Momm3m4Fetusm3m4 indicating a break-down of the BBB in-utero at E17.5 . In contrast to the decrease in expression of C4b transcripts in the liver , the brain of Momm3m4Fetusm3m4 showed increased C4 deposits in blood vessels as well as the brain parenchyma . Complement C3 deposits however were not different between Momm3m4Fetusm3m4 and MomWTFetusm3m4 .
Fig. 3: Breakdown of the bloodbrainbarrier in fetuses undergoing gestation in Momm3m4.
Collectively, these data show that maternal genetic contributions that promote a lack of immunosuppression during pregnancy can lead to a breakdown of the BBB in the fetus.
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Serotonins Link To Autism Explained
by Nicholette Zeliadt / 1 May 2019
This article is part of:
Serotonin, the brain chemical best known for its link to depression, may also be involved in autism.
Serotonin has many roles throughout the body, including in mood, sleep, appetite and sociability. In the intestines, it stimulates muscles involved in digestion in the blood, it causes vessels to shrink or expand and in the brain, it relays messages between neurons. Its levels in the brain are closely tied to depression. Many antidepressants work by increasing the levels of serotonin at neuronal junctions.
Tenuous ties between serotonin and autism first surfaced decades ago. In 1961, a study of 23 autistic people reported that 6 of them had an unusually high level of serotonin in their blood. Since then, researchers have consistently found that about one in four people on the spectrum has high blood serotonin.
That result is incredibly well replicated, says Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University.
Motivated in part by these results, several research teams have tested antidepressants as a treatment for autism over the past 20 years with mixed results. Interest in serotonins role in autism has grown in the past five years, due in part to mouse studies that implicate the chemical in social behavior.
Heres what we know so far about serotonins role in autism.
These levels are highly heritable, suggesting that genetic factors control them.
Certain Environmental Factors And Changes That Take Place In Your Body During Pregnancy And Delivery Can Increase Your Child’s Risk Of Autism With World Autism Awareness Day Around The Corner We Tell You Can Safeguard Your Little One From This Developmental Disorder
Written by Editorial Team | Published : March 31, 2019 7:08 PM IST
Yes, autism can grip your child’s brain even when she is in the womb. Autism spectrum disorder is an umbrella term for a cluster of neurodevelopmental disorders including autism, which impairs the normal growth of your child’s brain and manifests itself through abnormal behaviour, impaired communication, social and cognitive skills. According to the researchers of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, ASD can occur to babies when they are inside the womb. The researchers studied the brain tissues of dead autistic children in the cortex, the outermost part of the brain. Abnormality was found in 90 per cent of the cases in the brain regions responsible for social, communication and language skills. The researchers further noted that these cells were formed due to the defects that took place during the second or third trimester of the gestational period.
As per the WHO estimates, 1 out of 160 children suffers from autism globally. However, the occurrence of this condition in India is 2.25 per 1000 children, as revealed by a 2018 report of Indian Council of Medical Research. Though psychiatrists and developmental experts haven’t been to able to identify the cause of behind autism yet, the World Health Organization states that genetic and environmental factors can your child’s risk of being born with autism.
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Staying In Good Health
Regular check-ups with a family physician and obstetrician are important. Maternal health throughout pregnancy has a significant impact on unborn children. Mothers should be immunized against German measles and get an influenza shot. Research at the MIND Institute found that viral infections can interfere with the babys brain cells and alter neural connections. Taking all precautions to avoid gestational diabetes can help lower the risk for autism. If possible, pregnant women should avoid prescriptions, especially antidepressants, with medical supervision. Having a dentist remove mercury-based amalgam fillings before conception could be beneficial. Babies neurological function is naturally enhanced by passing through the birth canal, so avoiding unnecessary Cesarean sections can help.
Autism is a complex disorder without a single known cause or trigger. Scientists agree that genetics is responsible for up to 90 percent of the autism risk. Whether a child develops ASD is usually out of the parents control. However, a study in the Molecular Psychiatry journal found that autism rates are 15 percent higher in children born to mothers in their 40s and 66 percent higher for fathers over 50. Births spaced two to five years apart are typically healthiest. Good pregnancy planning and the above health-conscious steps can effectively help expecting women prevent autism.
Can Autism Be An Asset
The new study appears to confirm research from the University of California, Los Angeles showing that people with autism tend to have genetic changes that could disturb the formation of layers in the cortex.
And it adds to the already considerable evidence that autism starts in the womb, says Dr. Stanley Nelson, a geneticist at UCLA. “The overwhelming set of data is that the problems are existing during brain development, probably as an embryo or fetus,” he says.
But some of the new study’s findings are surprising and even a bit perplexing, Nelson says. For example, it’s odd that only certain bits of brain tissue contain these disorganized cells. “Why is the whole cortex not disorganized?” he says.
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Should You Space Out Your Pregnancies
A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry found that pregnancies spaced between 2 and 5 years apart have the lowest risk of a child developing autism. Researchers found that those children conceived after less than 12 months were 50 percent more likely to end up with a diagnosis as compared with children conceived between that 2-and-5-year time frame, though it’s unclear why.
Meanwhile, those conceived after more than 60 months were 30 percent more likely to be diagnosed. However, keep in mind that autism risk increases with both parents’ ages at conception and that a woman’s fertility declines as she gets older. When it comes to timing, work with your doctor to determine the best plan for you and your family.
Brain Development And Autism
The brain develops differently in autistic children compared with typically developing children.
In young children, the brain is developing all the time. Every time a child does something or responds to something, connections in the brain are reinforced and become stronger.
Over time, the connections that arent reinforced disappear theyre pruned away as theyre not needed. This pruning is how the brain makes room for important connections those needed for everyday actions and responses, like walking, talking or understanding emotions.
In autistic children, the brain tends to grow faster than average during early childhood, especially during the first three years of life. The brains of autistic babies appear to have more cells than they need, as well as poor connections between the cells.
Also, pruning doesnt seem to happen as much in autistic children. This means that information might be lost or sent through the wrong connections. The lack of pruning might also explain why the brain seems to be growing faster in autistic children than in typically developing children.
Its not yet clear what causes this difference in brain development.
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