Obesity in pregnancy linked to autism

2012-04-09 21:20

kalahari.com

Washington - Mothers who are obese or have diabetes during pregnancy may be more likely to have babies with autism or other developmental delays, said a US study published on Monday.

The findings "appear to raise serious public health concerns," said the study in the journal Paediatrics, which comes amid an obesity epidemic in the United States with recent research showing autism strikes up to one in 88 children.

Researchers examined 1 004 mother-child pairs from diverse backgrounds in California - about half of the children had autism, while 172 had other developmental problems and 315 were considered normal.

While the study did not say whether the mother's weight or diabetic status caused the children's developmental problems, it did find strong associations between the likelihood of such ailments and the mother's health in pregnancy.

For instance, mothers who were obese were about 67% more likely to have a child with autism and more than twice as likely to have a child with some kind of disorder than normal-weight moms without diabetes.

More than 20 percent of the mothers of children with autism or other developmental disability were obese. Just 14% of the mothers of normally developing children were obese at the time of pregnancy, it said.

Also, the autistic children of diabetic moms appeared to have more severe disabilities - with greater deficits in language and communication skills - than the autistic children of normal-weight moms.

"Over a third of US women in their childbearing years are obese and nearly one-tenth have gestational or type 2 diabetes during pregnancy," said lead author Paula Krakowiak, of the University of California, Davis.

Metabolic disorders

"Our finding that these maternal conditions may be linked with neuro-developmental problems in children raises concerns and therefore may have serious public health implications," she said.

Previous research has linked diabetes in pregnancy to development problems in children, but the association between autism and maternal diabetes has been inconsistent.

Scientists think that foetal problems may result from the prolonged exposure to high levels of insulin in diabetic moms, which requires greater oxygen use and may cut the necessary oxygen supply to the foetus.

Diabetes could also cut the needed levels of iron to the foetus, resulting in poor brain development.

According to Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioural paediatrics at Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Centre of New York, the study raises important questions but should not be interpreted as finding that metabolic disorders cause autism.

"Although other researchers are making headlines reporting advances in identifying genetic causes for autism, we must remember that environmental and other factors also likely play some role," said Adesman, who was not involved in the research.

"To the extent that there is an increase in diabetes and obesity in adults and likewise an increase of autism and related developmental disorders in young children, one cannot infer from this study that these metabolic conditions are the primary reason for the rapid increase in the incidence of autism."

- SAPA

Read more on:    us  |  health
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.