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"Autism Risk: Mom's Health May Matter More Than Meds"

  • HealthDay
  • New York, NY
  • (October 31, 2018)

Many pregnant women may wonder if antidepressants – or other drugs acting on the brain’s neurotransmitters – might raise their baby’s odds of developing autism. Now, reassuring research suggests that’s not the case. But a mother’s health before and during pregnancy may play a role in autism spectrum disorders, according to research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "Our data indicate that the majority of medications known to affect neurotransmitters, and taken by women during pregnancy, may not themselves influence the estimates of offspring autism risk," said study first author Magdalena Janecka, PhD, postdoctoral fellow at the Seaver Autism Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. However, the researchers did find that rates of autism were higher among children of mothers with poorer overall health before pregnancy. This finding suggests that a mother's health is a more important factor in a child's development than the medications she takes during pregnancy, the study authors said.

— Magdalena Janecka, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, The Seaver Autism Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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