Hospital-Diagnosed Infections in Pregnant Women Increase Autism Risk

A Kaiser Permanante study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders finds bacterial infections diagnosed in the hospital may increase the child’s risk for autism spectrum disorders, according to a news release.

Researchers found women with a hospital-diagnosed bacterial infection had a 58 percent higher risk of having a child with an autism spectrum disorder than women with an infection not diagnosed in a hospital setting.

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Authors say fetal brain development may be affected by immune-system responses to bacterial infections during pregnancy, and infections in the hospital may be more severe than infections outside the hospital, contributing to an increased risk in autism spectrum disorders.

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