Navigation Links
Autism in a test tube?
Date:6/14/2010

The first "test tube baby" was born in 1978. With advances in reproductive science, an estimated one percent of all American babies are now born each year through in vitro fertilization (IVF). But IVF and other assisted fertility treatments may be solving one problem by creating another, suggests new evidence from Tel Aviv University.

In a recent study, Dr. Ditza Zachor of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine reported a strong link between IVF and mild to moderate cases of autism. Her findings were presented last month at the International Meeting for Autism Research in Philadelphia.

According to her research at the Autism Center at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Israel, which Dr. Zachor directs, 10.5% of 461 children diagnosed with a disorder on the autism spectrum were conceived using IVF, a significantly higher number than the 3.5% autism rate in the general Israeli population.

Other factors in play

While the study doesn't draw any definitive conclusions, it presents some urgent questions, says Dr. Zachor. "It's too early to make a serious deduction based on that evidence alone," she says, citing other birth-related factors in her study, such as low birth rate and prematurity. Dr. Zachor's ongoing research will attempt to separate out these risk factors to come up with more precise numbers for autism and other prenatal conditions in IVF.

The key may be "imprinting," a biochemical procedure during cell division which determines which genes will be selected or "expressed" in the embryo. Research into epigenetics changes in gene expression that occur without a change in the DNA sequence suggest that the malformations may be caused by imprinting abnormalities introduced into the embryo while it's in a test tube environment, says Dr. Zachor. One such disorder linked with IVF appears to be Angelman syndrome.

However, Dr. Zachor does not want to discourage infertile couples from undergoing IVF implantation, which most often results in a healthy child.

Age-appropriate fertility treatments

Dr. Zachor notes that mothers in her study who had IVF tended to be older ― with a median age of 32.6 years. Also significantly, nearly 4% of the children with autism were born prematurely, and about 5% of those had a low birth weight. In the general population, only about 1% of all newborns are delivered with a low birth weight.

Aware of these risks, however, health practitioners may be able to intervene and find ways to avoid the problems, the researcher says. For example, they might recommend that IVF treatments be delayed for a longer period, despite any psychological stress this might cause to would-be parents. Some researchers believe that unassisted fertilization is a better way to avoid negative health effects.

"Many infertile couples choose this procedure, and they need to know whether there is a risk of autism," concludes Dr. Zachor. She stresses, however, that most women who undergo fertility treatments should not be scared away from IVF procedures: the majority of children born using IVF do not have autism, and most children who have autism were not conceived using IVF.


'/>"/>

Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Children with autism dont adapt as readily to unfamiliar faces
2. Rutgers Genetics receives $7.8 million for autism research
3. Simons Foundation awards Emory scientists $3M for autism gene research
4. Largest study to investigate risk factors of autism to begin enrolling families
5. New studies on schizophrenia, depression, trauma and autism highlight annual meeting
6. Study finds first-ever genetic animal model of autism
7. New studies suggest brain overgrowth in 1-year-olds linked to development of autism
8. Recurrent genetic deletion linked to autism
9. Researchers move 2 steps closer to understanding genetic underpinnings of autism
10. Autism Speaks collaborates on grant with the Allen Institute for Brain Science and autism expert
11. Kids with autism may have gene that causes muscle weakness
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/12/2016)... , May 12, 2016 WearablesResearch.com , ... published the overview results from the Q1 wave of ... recent wave was consumers, receptivity to a program where ... with a health insurance company. "We were ... share," says Michael LaColla , CEO of Troubadour ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April 28, ... Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ... announced a global partnership that will provide end ... use mobile banking and payment services.      (Logo: ... key innovation area for financial services, but it also plays ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their ... , The analysts forecast the global ... of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... of sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Calif. , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation ... increasingly precise treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class ... across 15 countries. Read More About the Class of ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case report ... detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted ... change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only free ... and will showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June 30, ... poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. DIA ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... SAN DIEGO , June 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... partnership that will allow them to produce up ... (HiPSC) from one lot within one week. These ... their time laboriously preparing cells and spend more ... made possible through a proprietary, high-volume manufacturing process ...
Breaking Biology Technology: