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Lower autism risk with folic acid supplements in pregnancy
Date:2/12/2013

possible causal mechanisms. It should also be ascertained whether folic acid is associated with a reduced risk of other brain disorders in children," says Surn.

Emphasises the importance of folic acid supplements

The results support the Norwegian Directorate of Health's recommendations for folic acid supplements during pregnancy and emphasise the importance of starting early -- preferably before conception.

Method

The ABC Study included participants in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) who were born in 2002-2008, and included a total of 85,176 children. The mothers had given detailed information about their diet and the use of supplements in early pregnancy. Children with autism diagnoses in MoBa were identified through questionnaires, referrals from parents and health personnel and through links to the Norwegian Patient Register. When the analyses were done, 270 children with autism diagnoses were identified in the study population. Of these children, 114 children had autism, 56 had Asperger syndrome and 100 had atypical or unspecified autism.

The use of folic acid supplements in early pregnancy increased sharply from 2002 to 2008 among women who participated in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. 43 per cent of mothers took folic acid supplements in 2002, while the percentage had risen to 85 per cent in 2008. However, many women began later than is desirable; only half of women who took folic acid supplements had begun before conception.

About the study

The ABC study is conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in collaboration with Columbia University in New York and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) in Bethesda, USA. The study received funding from NINDS. In addition, funds for research analysis were provided by the Norwegian Research Council. MoBa is managed by the NIPH.

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Contact: Julie Johansen
julie.johansen@fhi.no
Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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