Navigation Links
Folic acid lowers risk of autism

These findings are the result of a new study carried out at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. In the study, women who took folic acid supplements from four weeks before conception to eight weeks into pregnancy had a 40 per cent lower risk of giving birth to children with childhood autism (classic autism).

"It appears that the crucial time interval is from four weeks before conception to eight weeks into pregnancy," states Pl Surn, MD and doctoral fellow at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

The study is based on the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) and the Norway Autism Birth Cohort Study (ABC). It covered a total of 85 176 children born in the period 2002.

Inexpensive, simple prevention

Folic acid is a B vitamin that is essential for the construction and repair of DNA molecules, which control all body cells. Folate is the naturally occurring form of folic acid found in food and in the body.

Most pregnant women need folic acid supplements to reach the daily recommended levels. The Norwegian Directorate of Health recommends that women who are planning to become pregnant start to take folic acid supplements one month before conception and during the first three months of pregnancy.

The results of the study of the correlation between intake of folic acid supplements and childhood autism indicate that the lower risk is only associated with this specific supplement and not with the consumption of food or other supplements.

"Thus, the findings show that a measure already used here in Norway, one which is simple, inexpensive and without any known side effects among pregnant women, can prevent autism. Previous studies we have carried out have shown that folic acid may have a similar effect on other developmental disorders as well," Dr Surn says.

Important in other areas as well

The Directorate of Health's recommendations regarding pre-natal folic acid supplements are based on research that shows that the vitamin protects the foetus against spina bifida and other neural tube defects.

The researchers have also found a correlation between folic acid supplements and the reduced risk of severe language delay by the age of three. Such language problems are common in connection with autism but may also occur with many other conditions.

"It will be a tremendous breakthrough if it turns out that folic acid also prevents other developmental disorders," Dr Surn believes.

Some more vulnerable than others?

Dr Surn and his colleagues will conduct new analyses when the children involved in the study are older, among other things to examine whether there is any correlation between folic acid and a reduced risk of other developmental disorders such as ADHD and cerebral palsy. They will also carry out genetics studies.

"We know that there is a genetic component to the body's ability to use folate, so it is possible that some mothers are more prone to folic acid deficiency than others," Dr Surn adds.

Contact: Thomas Keilman
The Research Council of Norway

Related biology news :

1. Coalition petitions FDA to fortify corn masa flour with folic acid
2. Folic acid food enrichment potentially protective against childhood cancers
3. Lack of key enzyme in the metabolism of folic acid leads to birth defects
4. New research lowers past estimates of sea-level rise
5. Scientists discover switch in plants to create flowers
6. Omega-3 lowers inflammation in overweight older adults
7. High-speed video and artificial flowers shed light on mysteries of hummingbird-pollinated flowers
8. Insect-eating bat outperforms nectar specialist as pollinator of cactus flowers
9. In the Eastern US, spring flowers keep pace with warming climate
10. Dont be fooled: Flowers mislead traditional taxonomy
11. Holding a mirror to brain changes in autism
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/16/2016)... , May 16, 2016   EyeLock LLC , ... announced the opening of an IoT Center of Excellence ... and expand the development of embedded iris biometric applications. ... level of convenience and security with unmatched biometric accuracy, ... identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video technology ...
(Date:5/9/2016)... DUBAI , UAE, May 9, 2016 ... choice when it comes to expanding freedom for high ... Even in today,s globally connected world, there ... online conferencing system could ever duplicate sealing your deal ... are obtaining second passports by taking advantage of citizenship ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 ... a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), ... a global partnership that will provide end customers ... mobile banking and payment services.      (Logo: ... innovation area for financial services, but it also plays a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case report published today in ... patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from an injection ... for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... Hematology Review, 2016;12(1):22-8 ... , the peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew ... escalating cost of cancer care is placing an ... result of expensive biologic therapies. With the patents ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Regulatory Compliance Associates® Inc. ... a free webinar on Performing Quality Investigations: Getting to Root Cause. ... at no charge. , Incomplete investigations are still a major concern to the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 adds ... to its pharmaceuticals section with historic and forecast ... much more. Complete report on the ... profiling 15 companies and supported with 261 tables ... . The Global Cell Culture ...
Breaking Biology Technology: