But experts say taking fever-relieving meds cuts the risk. By Denise Mann HealthDay Reporter TUESDAY, May 29 (HealthDay News) — Women who develop fevers whilepregnant may be more than twice as likely to have a child withautism spectrum disorder or another developmental delay, a newstudy suggests. Exactly how, or even if, fevers may increase the risk for autism isunknown, and experts were quick to say women should not panic ifthey do develop a fever while pregnant because takingfever-reducing medications cuts the risk. One in 88 children in the United States has an autism spectrumdisorder, according to the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control andPrevention. This is an umbrella term for developmental disordersthat can range from mild to severe and that often affect social andcommunication skills. Little is known about what causes autism orprecisely why rates seem to be increasing. Researchers from the University of California, Davis asked the momsof about 1,100 kids with and without autism spectrum disorder orother developmental delays whether they had the flu or fever duringtheir pregnancies and if they took any medications to treat theseillnesses. Their findings were published online in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
According to the new data, moms who had a fever from any causeduring pregnancy were more than twice as likely to have a childwith autism or another developmental delay, when compared with momswho did not run fever during pregnancy. Moms who had the flu duringpregnancy were not at greater risk for having children with autismor another developmental delay. What’s more, moms who took fever-reducing medication duringpregnancy had similar risks as those moms who did not run a feverduring their pregnancy. “Our study provides strong evidence that controlling fevers whilepregnant may be effective in modifying the risk of having a childwith autism or developmental delay,” study author Dr. OussenyZerbo, a postdoctoral researcher with Kaiser Permanente’s NorthernCalifornia Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., said in auniversity news release. DVB-T2 Digital Receiver
Zerbo was a doctoral candidate with UCDavis when the study was conducted. “We recommend that pregnantwomen who develop fever take anti-[fever] medications and seekmedical attention if their fever persists.” The findings are culled from the Childhood Autism Risks fromGenetics and Environment (CHARGE) study. This is the same datasetthat recently led to a report that moms who are obese or havediabetes may be at higher risk for having children with autism. Thecommon denominator between diabetes, obesity and fever isinflammation. “This study puts the spotlight on inflammatory factors as apossible role in autism,” said Dr. China ISDB-T Receiver
Y. Jane Tavyev, director ofpediatric neurology at pediatric services at Cedars Sinai in LosAngeles. But, she added, “I don’t think that this should makepeople panic about getting sick during pregnancy. Mounting a feveris part of the body’s immune response to help kill bacteria andviruses.” Dr. DVB-S2 Set Top Box
Daniel Coury, a professor of clinical pediatrics and psychiatryat Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital inColumbus, Ohio, urges caution in interpreting the new findings. “Itis an association, and doesn’t mean that maternal fever causesautism, just that we see these two occurring together morefrequently than other things.” Alycia Halladay, director of research for environmental sciences atAutism Speaks, said that “this new report from the CHARGE studyadds another piece to the puzzle around environmental risk factorsin the causes of autism spectrum disorder. Further studies areneeded to interpret how these many risk factors are related to eachother and to an autism spectrum dissected diagnosis. This includeshow genes interact with these risk factors, and whether some of therisk factors act together to modify risk.” More information For more on autism, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: Y. Jane Tavyev, M.D., director, pediatric neurology,pediatric services, Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles; Alycia Halladay,Ph.D., director, research for environmental sciences, AutismSpeaks; Daniel L. Coury, M.D., professor, clinical pediatrics andpsychiatry, Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’sHospital, Columbus, Ohio; University of California, Davis, newsrelease, May 23, 2012; May 5, 2012, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders , online Copyright © 2012 HealthDay . All rights reserved.