The latest study aims to decode a link between smoking habits of grandmother’s and their autistic grandchildren in a bid to uncover more information underlying autism symptoms.
The study scientifically concludes that maternal grandmas being addicted to tobacco and smoking during their pregnancy phase are more likely to have their grandchildren autistic.
Autism is significantly characterized by monotonous behaviors and interactive complexities and is seen to be rising pace.
However, many believe the increase in autism rates is due to better awareness and accurate detection rates due to advancements in technology. Further, some scientists and researchers alike believe that lifestyle or environmental factors, too have a greater role to play.
An earlier study that was carried out by the researchers from the University of Bristol in the UK subsequently looked into the data wading their way to three past generations. The data collection project in question was carried out by the University of Bristol and dates back to the early 90’s.
Further, the researchers recruited young expectant mothers in order to have an accurate look at their lifestyle activities, not limited to their health and habits which also includes their smoking patterns. The recruited expectant participants have been followed up regularly from the earlier days of project inception.
The investigative reports go back to earlier studies wherein researchers and scientists alike have thoroughly investigated the existing links between autism and smoking.
Some error has occured.
Nevertheless, much of the obtained data-results are seen to be inconclusive. On one hand, some studies have been observed to find an effect while on the other hand, some studies haven’t.
To further dig deeper and to understand whether smoking during pregnancy had any effect on a person’s grandchildren, researchers involved 14500 participants in the current study.
The obtained data was thoroughly analyzed and various other external factors were considered. Nevertheless, the results were equally surprising.
The team found that a girl child of a maternal smoking grandmother was more likely to be born autistic. The autism risk in the grandchild was seen to be up by 67 percent in comparison to the grandmothers who did not smoke.
Further, the researchers concluded, in cases involving smoking grandmothers, children should be thoroughly assessed for monotonous behaviors and social communication symptoms.
It should be further noted that during the course of study, the sex of grandchildren couldn’t be analyzed independently. The analysis carried out was a part of a rigorous study involving 7000 participants out of which 177 participants had a complete autism diagnosis.
The results were further observed to gain clear tract if grandmothers smoked but the expectant mothers did not. Interestingly, a concrete association could not be established between paternal grandmother smoking and autism.
One of the major factors could be the developing eggs within one’s fetus could be hypersensitive to the harmful chemicals involved in smoking. The damages that one inherits due to smoking could end up eventually affecting their offspring’s.
Professor Pembrey explains, “Nevertheless, small changes in mitochondria would not affect a woman instantaneously, however; the influence of the changes could gain amplification in their following generations.”
As for the question of why granddaughters are more prone to autism symptoms than grandsons, Professor Pembrey says, “We haven’t stumbled upon concrete evidence yet for understanding sex differences.” Prof. Pembrey further continues, “We have seen varying patterns of unique growths in granddaughters and grandchildren.”
Further, there needs to be more research carried out to confirm these obtained results with greater accuracy and answer questions arising out from the above data. The team says they have plans to expand and extend their findings to a wider level.
Professor Jean Golding says, “We have already started studying the participants involving their next generations, and the new results will help us understand effects starting right from great-grandparents down to their great-grandchildren.”