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Hypothyroidism in mothers tied to heightened risk of developing autism in children

13 May 2018

Maternal hypothyroidism contributes to an increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children in a manner dependent on race–ethnicity, according to a retrospective US cohort study.

The study included 397,201 children who were delivered from 1991 to 2011 and remained Kaiser Permanente Southern California health plan members from 1993 to 2014. During the study period, the prevalence of chronic hypothyroidism in mothers was 2.2 percent. There were 6,475 children who developed ASD. Mothers of children with ASD were older, better educated, at lower parity and received prenatal care earlier, and their children were born earlier and more often males of white race.

ASD rates were higher in children born to hypothyroid mothers than in children born to those without the diagnosis (2.14 vs 1.62/1,000 person-years). In Cox proportional hazards models, maternal hypothyroidism, whether diagnosed before or during pregnancy, increased the risk of ASD in offspring by about 30 percent (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.31; 95 percent CI, 1.13–1.53).

The association between maternal hypothyroidism and ASD was seen among both boys (3.93 vs 2.62/1,000 person-years; adjusted HR, 1.27; 1.07–1.50) and girls (1.10 vs 0.61/1,000 person-years; adjusted HR, 1.51; 1.10–2.08). Among women diagnosed with hypothyroidism during pregnancy, normal thyroid-stimulating hormone and free thyroxine levels were not associated with an increased risk of ASD in children.

Prenatal hypothyroidism was associated with an increased risk of ASD in children of Hispanics (adjusted HR, 1.09; 1.01–1.17) and women of other/mixed race–ethnicity (adjusted HR, 1.08; 1.00–1.16) than in children of white women.

According to researchers, management of maternal hypothyroidism may help ameliorate the risk of ASD.

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Most Read Articles
5 days ago

Dr Michael Lim, a senior consultant at the Paediatric Pulmonary and Sleep Division, National University Hospital, Singapore, speaks to Roshini Claire Anthony on the rare disease that is cystic fibrosis.

3 days ago
Susceptibility‐guided therapy is as effective as empiric modified bismuth quadruple therapy for the first-line treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection, with both yielding excellent eradication rates, as shown in a recent trial.
5 days ago
It appears that long-term consumption of fish and omega-3 fatty acid does not influence the risk of incident hypertension in middle-aged and older men, suggests a US study.
3 days ago
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