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 One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs