While there is debate as to what causes autism, scientists have found that pregnant women who supplement with folic acid early in their pregnancy are less likely to have a child diagnosed with autism.
This latest study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers used data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) and the Autism Birth Cohort Study (ABC). These two studies together comprised “the largest prospective birth cohort devoted to the investigation of gene-environment interactions and biomarker discovery for neuropsychiatric disorders,” according to Columbia University.
With a total of 270 cases of autism arising in the sample, 114 had the most serious on the autism spectrum, autistic disorder.
In the study, scientists looked at a total of more than 85,000 babies born between 2002 and 2008. They monitored prenatal dietary habits and lifestyle choices for about 3 to 10 years. What they found, among other things, is that a mother who supplemented with folic acid early on in her pregnancy could significantly reduce her child’s risk of autism. The likelihood of a mother giving birth to a child with autistic disorder was slashed by 40% with folic acid supplementation. But, when she took the folic acid was nearly more important than if she took it.
The researchers found the magic autism-prevention period to be between 4 and 8 weeks of gestation.
The work suggests that women who take folic acid supplements in this early stage of pregnancy can help reduce their child’s risk of autism.
Another important vitamin during pregnancy? Vitamin D!
Read the full article here:
Study: Mothers Taking Folic Acid 40% Less Likely to Have Child with Autism
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