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Combined Effects Of Maternal Obesity, Diabetes ‘Substantially’ Raise Autism Risks
Kaiser Health News

While the incidence of autism spectrum disorder has increased in recent years, what’s behind it remains relatively mysterious and even controversial. But a major study could shed new light on some of the maternal health factors that may increase children’s risk of developing the condition.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder marked by difficulties with communication and social interaction as well as repetitive or obsessive behaviors. The range and severity of symptoms can vary widely.

The study, which was released Friday and appears in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics, followed almost 3,000 children who visited the Boston Medical Center between 1998 and 2014. It used electronic health records to track whether these children were diagnosed with autism, along with factors like the mother’s pre-pregnancy weight and whether she had been diagnosed with diabetes before or during her pregnancy.