Tuesday June 25, 2019

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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Artificial Intelligence Discovers New Class of Genetic Mutations Behind Autism

The newly found mutations are likely to significantly increase that fraction, the researchers said

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Using Artificial Intelligence (AI), researchers have discovered new genetic flaws that contribute to autism in people.

Most previous research on the genetic basis of disease has focused on the 20,000 known genes and the surrounding sections of DNA that regulate those genes.

However, even this enormous amount of genetic information makes up only slightly more than one per cent of the 3.2 billion chemical pairs in the human genome.

The other 99 per cent has conventionally been thought of as “dark” or “junk,” although recent research has begun to disrupt that idea.

In their new finding, detailed in the journal Nature Genetics, the research team offers a method to make sense of this vast array of genomic data.

The system uses an AI technique called deep learning in which an algorithm performs successive layers of analysis to learn about patterns that would otherwise be impossible to discern.

The algorithm teaches itself how to identify biologically relevant sections of DNA and predicts whether those snippets play a role in any of more than 2,000 protein interactions that are known to affect the regulation of genes.

autism
“Many people with autism also have a serious intestinal illness, like diarrhea and irritable-bowel syndrome. It is consistent with our findings,” Liu said. Pixabay

“This method provides a framework for doing this analysis with any disease,” said Olga Troyanskaya, Professor at Princeton University in the US.

The approach could be particularly helpful for neurological disorders, cancer, heart disease and many other conditions that have eluded efforts to identify genetic causes.

In the case of autism, the researchers analysed the genomes of 1,790 families with “simplex” autism spectrum disorder, meaning the condition is apparent in one child but not in other members of the family.

The method sorted among 120,000 mutations to find those that affect the behaviour of genes in people with autism.

Also Read- Assam Launches Campaign to Control Diarrhoea Across the State

Among this sample, fewer than 30 per cent of the people affected by autism spectrum disorder had a previously identified genetic cause.

The newly found mutations are likely to significantly increase that fraction, the researchers said. (IANS)