News / Health

Study Links Induced Labor and Autism Risk

Christopher Astacio reads with his daughter Cristina, 2, who was  diagnosed with a mild form of autism. A new study links induced labor with increased risk of autism.Christopher Astacio reads with his daughter Cristina, 2, who was diagnosed with a mild form of autism. A new study links induced labor with increased risk of autism.
x
Christopher Astacio reads with his daughter Cristina, 2, who was  diagnosed with a mild form of autism. A new study links induced labor with increased risk of autism.
Christopher Astacio reads with his daughter Cristina, 2, who was diagnosed with a mild form of autism. A new study links induced labor with increased risk of autism.
VOA News
Women who undergo induced or augmented labor during childbirth may increase the risk their baby will be autistic, according to a new study. The risk may even be higher if the baby is a male.

“Inducing or augmenting labor has been previously suggested as a contributing factor to autism development,” said the study’s lead author, Simon G. Gregory, associate professor of medicine and medical genetics at Duke University. “However, these studies produced conflicting results and consisted of a relatively small number of subjects. Our study is by far the largest one of its kind to look at the association between autism and induction or augmentation.”

Researchers at the University of Michigan and Duke University, looked at records of all births in North Carolina over an eight-year period and matched 625,042 births with corresponding public school records, which indicated whether children were diagnosed with autism.

Approximately 1.3 percent of male children and 0.4 percent of female children had autism diagnoses. In both male and female children, the percentage of mothers who had induced or augmented labor was higher among children with autism compared with those who did not have autism.

Autism is a developmental disability that can cause social, communication and behavioral difficulties. It affects approximately one in 88 children in the United States.

Gregory said the increased risk associated with induced labor is similar to other known autism risk factors, including a mother being older or a baby being born before 34 weeks of gestation. Additional analysis suggests that not inducing labor might eliminate two in every 1,000 autism cases among male children born to mothers who underwent induced labor.

The latest government data suggest one in five U.S. women have labor induced — twice as many as in 1990. Induced labor — stimulating contractions before the onset of spontaneous labor -- has been shown to prevent complications, including stillbirth.

“The findings of this study must be balanced with the fact that there are clear benefits associated with induction and augmentation of labor,” said study co-author Chad A. Grotegut, assistant professor of obstetrics/gynecology at Duke University Medicine. “Labor induction, especially for women with post-date pregnancies or medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, has remarkably decreased the chance of stillbirth.”

Researchers caution that the study “does not prove cause and effect,” but that the results call for more study of the relationship between induced labor and autism.

For example, the researchers noted that some information that could have benefitted their analyses was not available, including detailed data on the children’s autism diagnoses. No information was available on the severity of autism, nor were records available for children diagnosed with autism who did not attend a public school.

The researchers also did not have access to the full maternal or child medical records, which would provide more detailed information on the pregnancy and events of labor and delivery.

“The scientific community has long looked for environmental contributors to the rising rates of autism in the United States,” said Marie Lynn Miranda, senior author of the paper and a professor in both Environmental Informatics and Pediatrics at the University of Michigan. “This study provides preliminary evidence of an association between autism and labor induction/augmentation, especially among male children.”

The findings were published this week in JAMA Pediatrics.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid