Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Autism Risks Linked to in Utero Exposure to Diabetes Meds

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Autism Risks Linked to in Utero Exposure to Diabetes Meds

Article excerpt

AT EASD 2014

VIENNA -- Children whose mothers had gestational diabetes and required anti-diabetic medications might face a 22% increased risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder.

About a third of that increase was significantly associated with very-early diabetes diagnosis and treatment, suggesting that early first trimester hyperglycemia may affect fetal brain development, Anny H. Xiang, Ph.D., said at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

"My speculation is that, since fetal brain development is critical in the first and early second trimesters, exposure to high glucose during that time might damage its development," said Dr. Xiang, a senior research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Department of Research and Evaluation in Pasadena, Calif. "Later exposure, perhaps, is not as problematic," for the developing brain.

Her longitudinal cohort study included 315,827 singleton infants who were born at 28-44 weeks' gestation between 1995 and 2009. This included 290,792 who were not exposed to gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), and 25,035 who were. Of these, 5,891 had been exposed to antidiabetic medications.

All of the mothers were enrolled in Kaiser Permanente Southern California at the time of the birth, and all the children were still in the health plan by ages 1-2 years. Women who had preexisting type 1 or 2 diabetes were excluded from the study.

In accordance with the literature, mothers with GDM had lower educational levels and lower household incomes. They were older and more of them were multiparous. They were more likely to have had preeclampsia or eclampsia with a prior pregnancy. Asians and Pacific Islanders were more likely to have GDM than were other ethnicities.

Women who required antidiabetic treatment were diagnosed a mean of 4 weeks earlier than those who did not (23 vs. …

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