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Maternal Infection Requiring Hospitalization During Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Posted May 04 2010 12:59pm

One known possible environmental cause of autism is rubella infections in the mother during a pregnancy. This can lead to a condition called “Congenital Rubella Syndrome”. Many with CRS have very significant disabilities, including intellectual disablity and autism.

The epidemiological team at Aarhus, Denmark, has taken this one step further and looked at maternal infections in general. What they found was that viral infections in the first trimester and bacterial infections in the second trimester are associated with a roughly 3 times greater risk of autism for the child. The infections noted were severe enough to warrant hospitalization.

Maternal Infection Requiring Hospitalization During Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Atladóttir HO, Thorsen P, Ostergaard L, Schendel DE, Lemcke S, Abdallah M, Parner ET.

Exposure to prenatal infection has been suggested to cause deficiencies in fetal neurodevelopment. In this study we included all children born in Denmark from 1980, through 2005. Diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and maternal infection were obtained through nationwide registers. Data was analyzed using Cox proportional hazards regression. No association was found between any maternal infection and diagnosis of ASDs in the child when looking at the total period of pregnancy: adjusted hazard ratio = 1.14 (CI: 0.96-1.34). However, admission to hospital due to maternal viral infection in the first trimester and maternal bacterial infection in the second trimester were found to be associated with diagnosis of ASDs in the offspring, adjusted hazard ratio = 2.98 (CI: 1.29-7.15) and adjusted hazard ratio = 1.42 (CI: 1.08-1.87), respectively. Our results support prior hypotheses concerning early prenatal viral infection increasing the risk of ASDs.

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<a href="http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2010/05/maternal-infection-requiring-hospitalization-during-pregnancy-and-autism-spectrum-disorders/">Maternal Infection Requiring Hospitalization During Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorders</a>

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