This Common Condition In Women Is Greatly Increasing The Risk Of Childhood Autism 5 years ago

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.

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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."