Induced Labor New Possible Cause of Autism?

First, it was uncaring mothers.  Then it was vaccinations.  Now researchers are saying that inducing labor could possibly lead to autism.

According to the AP, "The biggest study of its kind suggests autism might be linked with inducing and speeding up labor, preliminary findings that need investigating since labor is induced in increasing numbers of U.S. women, the authors and other autism experts say."

But the article is quick to point out that, like most research into autism causes, "The study doesn't provide conclusive answers," and the authors rush to say the results shouldn't lead doctors "to avoid inducing labor or speeding it up since it can be life-saving for mothers and babies."

"We haven't found a connection for cause and effect. One of the things we need to look at is why they were being induced in the first place," Simon Gregory, lead author and an associate professor of medicine and medical genetics at Duke University, told the AP.

Writer Lindsey Tanner says government figures show that 1 in 5 women have their labors induced, double what it was in 1990.  The research centered around 600,000 births and is the largest study so far.

At highest risk?  Boys whose mothers had labor started and speeded up, were 35% more likely to have autism.
Tanner reports that autism was not tied to induced labor in girls. Rather, it was more common in "those born after labor was accelerated."  These babies were 18% more likely to have the developmental disorder than girls whose mothers had neither treatment.
One of the most interesting facts to come out of the study is the growing consensus that risks for autism occur before birth or soon after, Dr. Byron King, director of Seattle Children's Hospital's autism center, told Tanner. He was not involved in the study.


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