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07-03-2018 | Pregnancy | News

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Autism link to maternal diabetes may depend on timing

medwireNews: Research suggests that maternal diabetes increases the offspring’s risk for autism only if it is present during the first two trimesters of pregnancy.

Anny Xiang (Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Pasadena, USA) and colleagues found that the average annual autism rates per 1000 children were 4.4 if their mothers had type 1 diabetes, 3.6 if they had type 2 diabetes, 2.9 and 2.1 if they had gestational diabetes diagnosed by or after 26 weeks’ gestation, respectively, and 1.8 if they did not have diabetes.

This pattern – seen among 419,425 children, of whom 5827 were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder – persisted after accounting for multiple confounders, with significant hazard ratios of 2.33, 1.39, and 1.26 for type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes by week 26, respectively, versus no diabetes.

“These results suggest that the severity of maternal diabetes and the timing of exposure” may be associated with autism risk, write the researchers in JAMA, although they note that they could not account for the effects of “paternal risk factors and other intrauterine and postnatal exposures.”

By Eleanor McDermid

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2018 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature group

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