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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer births or low oxygen during delivery may have a risk for autism

Low oxygen during delivery may put baby at risk for developing autism. Oxygen deprivation to the baby’s brain combined with genetic predisposition might have an effect on development. This is a finding from a recent study conducted by Researchers analyzing data from 64 previous studies relating to perinatal (birth) and neonatal (post-birth) risk factors relating to the disorder. The data from the previous studies included low birth weight, induced or early labor, cesarean, breech births, forceps delivery, jaundice and discolored amniotic fluid were also examined. The risk factors involved decreased blood flow to the brain which can lead to increased dopamine levels. Elevated levels are typically found in those who have been diagnosed with autism.
From these factors several events were found that may be related to autism. These events are  having the umbilical cord around baby’s neck, meconium entering the lungs, abnormal fetal presentation or breech delivery, fetal respiratory distress, birth injury or trauma, low 5-minute APGAR score, newborn seizures, low birth weight, multiple births, low blood iron and being born in the summer. Babies born in summer have an elevated occurrence of autism in 6 out of 12 studies. The reason for the relationship of time of the year are unclear but the researchers think this could be from variation in viral or other infections, nutritional factors or vitamin deficiencies.
The study doesn’t conclude whether a child will develop autism if deprived of oxygen during birth but it does provide insight to the factors involved.

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