No link between mom's smoking and autism

Traci Pedersen

Smoking during pregnancy is not directly linked to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children, according to a large population-based study in Sweden.

Exposure to various chemicals in the environment during pregnancy and infancy has been considered by researchers as a possible contributing factor toward the development of autism spectrum disorders.

Prenatal exposure to tobacco smoke is considered a potential link due to known associations between smoking and behavioral disorders and obstetric complications. Previous studies of maternal smoking and autism have given mixed results.

“We found no evidence that maternal smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of autism spectrum disorders,” said study leader Dr. Brian Lee, an assistant professor at Drexel University and an epidemiologist at Drexel’s School of Public Health, in collaboration with researchers from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and the University of Bristol (Bristol, UK).

“Past studies that showed an association were most likely influenced by social and demographic factors such as income and occupation that have associations with both the likelihood of smoking and with the rate of autism spectrum disorders.”

Full article here

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