Does inducing labor lead to autism?

A new study published this week in JAMA Pediatrics concludes that children born to pregnantmothers who had labor induced or augmented (sped up) were more likely to develop autism. Study authors from Duke Medicine said physicians should not hesitate to induce when medically needed, as it can save infants’ lives. But, they believe it’s another potential autism trigger worth exploring.

HymanReuters Health turned to Pediatrics Professor Susan Hyman, M.D., to gain insight into what the study means for autism, which affects 1 in 88 children. The definitive cause of the disorder is still not known, but physicians and scientists have narrowed it down to a combination of genetics and environmental exposures.

“Induction is extraordinarily common,” Hyman told Reuters Health. She believes that much more research is needed to establish a direct link between induction/augmentation and autism, and urges parents to “Discuss that with your healthcare provider if you’re worried about your child. Although the statistics identify an association the vast majority of children are fine and many of their lives might have been saved (by induction).”

Read the full Reuters story here and learn more about Hyman’s research here.

Autism is one of the seven priority programs of the Golisano Children’s Hospital $100 million campaign. There is currently no cure for Autism Spectrum Disorder, but there is an increasing demand for the treatment and support of the disease. Autism affects one in every 110 children in the U.S., and we are now diagnosing autism in children as young as two years of age. With your help, we will search for the most effective treatments and understand the medical and behavioral symptoms and their causes. We will also teach the next generation of clinicians how to care for children with autism and the adults they will become. To learn more of how you can make a difference in unlocking the mysteries of Autism Spectrum Disorder, please visit our page on how your gift can help.

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