This Common Condition In Women Is Greatly Increasing The Risk Of Childhood Autism
According to a recent Swedish study, children of mothers with a particular hormone imbalance may have an increased risk for developing autism.
A team of researchers at the Karolinska Institute's department of public health sciences in Stockholm recently discovered that polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) — a common hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with small cysts and affects between five and 15 percent of women of childbearing age — looks to be a major link to autism spectrum disorder.
This is what Kyriaki Kosidou, lead researchers at the Karolinska Institute, had to say:
"We found that a maternal diagnosis of PCOS increased the risk of ASD in the offspring by 59 percent."
This groundbreaking study is, according to Kosidou, the first to find such a connection, and, although they haven't proven a cause-and-effect relationship, Kosidou and her team theorised that exposure to sex hormones early in life — from mothers with PCOS producing excessive amounts of androgens, which aid in brain and central nervous system development — may play an important role in a child's risk of autism.
The risk is further increased if a mother with PCOS is also obese, the study stated.
For women living with PCOS, the researchers believe it's too early to make specific recommendations in terms of prenatal care. However, the study's senior author, Renee Gardner, said in a release that "increased awareness of this relationship might facilitate earlier detection of [autism] in children whose mothers have been diagnosed with PCOS."