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Rate of autism in US reduced in the past three years

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Rate of autism in US reduced in the past three yearsRate of autism in US reduced in the past three years
FILE - Colleen Jankovich works with her 11-year-old autistic son, Matthew, in Omaha, Nebraska, May 23, 2014. VOA
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Miami, Jan 2, 2018: After more than a decade of steady increase in the rate of children diagnosed with autism in the United States, the rate has plateaued in the past three years, researchers said Tuesday.

The findings were based on a nationwide study in which more than 30,000 parents reported whether their children had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

“The estimated ASD prevalence was 2.41 percent among US children and adolescents in 2014-2016, with no statistically significant increase over the three years,” said the research letter by experts at the University of Iowa, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The first observation of a plateau was made by a separate group in 2012, when the rate flattened out to 1.46 percent, according to the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

Federal health authorities say that means about one in 68 children in the United States have the neurodevelopmental disability, whose causes remain poorly understood.

The ADDM had documented a “continuous increase from 0.67 percent in 2000 to 1.47 percent in 2010.”

The 2.4 percent rate described in the JAMA report translates to one in 47 children, but researchers cautioned that the discrepancy may be explained by “differences in study design and participant characteristics.”

The JAMA report, based on the annual National Health Interview Survey, did not delve into “underlying causes for the findings and cannot make conclusions about their medical significance.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also noted a plateau in the autism rate in 2016, but said it was “too soon to know whether ASD prevalence in the United States might be starting to stabilize.” (VOA)

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Prolonged paracetamol use in pregnancy may up autism, ADHD risk

While there is also a 20 percent increase in relative risk for ASD, compared to those who did not take the medications

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Long-term use of paracetamol during pregnancy is associated with the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), a study has found.

Previous studies showed that long-term administration of low doses of paracetamol also known as acetaminophen may affect the development of the fetal nervous system. This effect is often seen years after exposure during childhood.

Protein responsible for postpartum depression in pregnancy found
Paracetamol can harm infants. IANS

The new study, appearing in the American Journal of Epidemiology, showed that prolonged exposure to acetaminophen found in the commonly used drug for the treatment of pain and fever, during pregnancy is associated with a 30 per cent increase in relative risk for ADHD.

While there is also a 20 per cent increase in relative risk for ASD, compared to those who did not take the medications. “The findings suggest an association between prolonged acetaminophen use and an increase in the risk of autism and ADHD,” said Ilan Matok, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.

Also Read: 5 Healthy Ways To Get Back In Shape After Pregnancy

For the new research, the team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis 1,32,738 mother and child pairs with a follow-up period of three to 11 years.

The researchers believe that it is important to understand that pain and fever during pregnancy can have a detrimental effect on the developing foetus, but acetaminophen is still considered a safe drug for use during pregnancy.

Paracetamol can cause ADHD in children. Pixabay

Therefore, if a pregnant woman has fever and/or pain, acetaminophen can be taken for a short period, and if the fever or pain continues beyond that, she should consult her physician regarding further treatment.

“While the unnecessary use of any medication should be avoided in pregnancy, we believe our findings should not alter current practice and women should not avoid the use of short-term acetaminophen when clinically needed,” Matok said. IANS

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