Wednesday October 24, 2018

Prenatal Fish Consumption NOT Linked to Autism Risk in Babies

The researchers also found poor social cognition if mothers ate no fish at all, especially for baby girls

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Fish is an excellent source of the omega-3s EPA and DHA while flax, walnuts and canola oil are good sources of ALA omega-3. Pixabay
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Instead of increasing risk of autism, eating fish twice a week during pregnancy may actually give newborns several nutritional benefits, suggests a new research.

The findings — published in journal Molecular Autism — found no evidence to support claims that mercury in fish is linked to the development of autism or autistic traits in newborns.

“All species of fish contain traces of mercury, which can harm brain development, but we have found that the health benefits of fish, probably from nutrients such as vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and iodine, outweigh the risks from mercury,” said co-author Caroline Taylor from the University of Bristol in Britain.

For the study, the researchers examined the assumption that mercury exposure during pregnancy is a major cause of autism, using evidence from nearly 4,500 women.

They analysed blood samples, reported fish consumption and gathered information on autism and autistic traits from one of the largest longitudinal studies to date.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

The researchers also found poor social cognition if mothers ate no fish at all, especially for baby girls.

“Our findings further endorse the safety of eating fish during pregnancy. Importantly, we’ve found no evidence at all to support claims that mercury is involved in the development of autism or autistic traits,” said lead author Jean Golding, Professor at the University of Bristol.

Also Read: Gene Responsible For Autism Identified

“This adds to a body of work that endorses eating of fish during pregnancy for a good nutritional start to life with at least two fish meals a week,” Golding noted. (IANS)

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Novel Blood Test May Predict Autism Risk in Babies During Pregnancy

These are exciting results as they hint at differences in some metabolic processes that potentially play a role in increasing the risk of having a child with autism

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New blood test in pregnancy to predict autism risk in babies. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a novel blood test for pregnant mothers that can, with nearly 90 per cent accuracy rate, predict the probability of having a child that will be diagnosed with autism.

According to studies, if a mother has previously had a child with autism, the risk of having a second child with the developmental disorder is approximately 18.7 per cent, whereas the risk in the general population is approximately 1.7 per cent.

In the study, led by Juergen Hahn, Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, metabolites of the folate-dependent transmethylation and transsulfuration biochemical pathways of pregnant mothers were measured to determine whether or not the risk of having a child with autism could be predicted by her metabolic profile.

Pregnant mothers who have had a child with autism before were separated into two groups based on the diagnosis of their child whether the child had autism or not.

Pregnancy
Representational image. Pixabay

Then these mothers were compared to a group of control mothers who have not had a child with autism before.

The results, appearing in the journal Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, showed that while it is not possible to determine during a pregnancy if a child will be diagnosed with autism by age 3, they did find that differences in the plasma metabolites are indicative of the relative risk (18.7 per cent vs 1.7 per cent) for having a child with autism.

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“These are exciting results as they hint at differences in some metabolic processes that potentially play a role in increasing the risk of having a child with autism,” Hahn said.

“However, it would be highly desirable if a prediction based upon physiological measurements could be made to determine which risk group a prospective mother falls into,” Hahn noted. (IANS)