Increased autism risk linked to maternal high blood pressure and diabetes

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Image credit: Healthline

Children born to women who had diabetes or high blood pressure while pregnant are at an increased risk of autism, two new studies suggest.

Autism has previously been linked to type 2 diabetes and to gestational diabetes — a temporary condition in which a woman develops diabetes during the course of her pregnancy.

One of the new studies confirms these risks and extends the link to type 1, or juvenile, diabetes, the most severe form of the condition. Children born to women with this form have about twice the risk of autism as those born to women who do not have any form of diabetes.

They suggest that children born to women with diabetes should be monitored closely for autism, says lead investigator Anny Xiang, director of biostatistics research at Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena.

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In the other study, published in June in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers reviewed 61 reports on the link between developmental conditions and types of high blood pressure, including preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication involving high blood pressure.

Overall, the new work suggests that children whose mothers had preeclampsia have a 50 percent higher risk of autism than controls do.

And neither study provides insights into the mechanisms underlying the links. It is possible that genetics underlies the associations, [professor Diana] Schendel says.

Read full, original post: Study ties autism to maternal high blood pressure, diabetes

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