A recent study conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, suggests that there is no link between contracting influenza during pregnancy, being inoculated for the flu mid-pregnancy and autism spectrum disorder.
To study the incidence of autism spectrum disorder in children whose mothers either contracted the flu or were inoculated during pregnancy, the team of scientists led by Lisa Croen, the senior author of the study, analyzed the medical records of approximately 200,000 children over a period of 10 years.
The researchers followed cases of at least 24 weeks’ gestation, and the most relevant cases were followed for an additional period of 15 years.
According to the preliminary data, approximately 1.6 percent of the children were later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. In addition, the study points out that circa one perfect of children diagnose with ASD were born to mothers who contracted influenza during pregnancy.
Furthermore, the numbers show that approximately 23 percent of all mothers were inoculated for the flu during pregnancy.
Lisa Croen, the senior author of the study, concluded that the new study shows that there is no link between ASD and flu vaccines. As a result, the senior researcher and her team recommend that no changes should be made to the current influenza inoculation policy.
The group’s study has been published in the JAMA Pediatrics and can be consulted for free on The JAMA Network.
At the moment, all the evidence points out that there isn’t a correlation between flu vaccines during pregnancy and autism spectrum disorder. However, the team’s paper did not take into account other types of vaccines.
ASD is an umbrella term that defines a wide range of behavioral and developmental disorders. At the moment, the medical literature acknowledges three types of autism:
- Autistic Disorder – characterized by communicational difficulties, intellectual disabilities, and a proclivity for ‘unusual activities’ or types of behavior.
- Asperger Syndrome – characterized by social challenges and the proclivity for unusual behavior and/or Individuals diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome do not show signs of language impairment and do not have any intellectual disabilities.
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified – considered the milder form of ASD. Communication and social challenges are its associated symptoms.
As for diagnosing autism spectrum disorder, researchers believe that there are some telltale signs. For example, if your child doesn’t respond to his or her name by the time the infant reaches the age of 12 months, then he or she might have ASD.
You can read more about ASD and its symptoms of Autism Speaks’ official page.
Image source: Wikipedia