In one of the recent studies, researchers have observed offspring being twice likely at a risk of being born with ASD to mothers with preeclampsia during their pregnancy phase. Researchers strongly believe there is an underlying link between the two, autism and preeclampsia.
Further, it was also observed the likeliness of an autism diagnosis increased by multiple folds depending on the severity of preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia can be defined as a condition that appears during pregnancy. It is further characterized by symptoms such as the urinary discharge of proteins and high blood pressure.
In the USA alone, the condition is seen to affect 3 to 5 percent of the pregnant women. The study analyzed the after effects of preeclampsia and 20 to 40% of them were at a higher risk.
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In the developing countries, there are known deaths arising out of preeclampsia condition. As per the data available, 40 to 6- percent of maternal deaths occur due to the condition.
Cheryl Walker explains, “Preeclampsia condition can end up affecting the developing brain in various ways.” Walker further continues, “For instance, depriving one of adequate oxygen and limiting nutrient benefits which can cause severe oxidative stress.”
The study involved more than 1000 children aged between 2 to 3 years, being included.
Researchers comment, although preeclampsia condition has been earlier studied owing to its risk being linked to autism, it should be noted that some of the earlier researches have been inconsistent in their findings.
Researchers further explain this could be due to earlier studies being case-controlled studies. Out of 500 autistic children who were screened, 350 were seen to by typically developing while other 200 had been diagnosed with developmental delays.
The reports, nevertheless; confirmed about the mothers having confirmed preeclampsia.
The results further show that mothers of young children who went on to be later diagnosed with autism were likelier to experience preeclampsia symptoms during their pregnancy phase.
It was also seen; young mothers also had a history of placental insufficiency leading to severe preeclampsia in comparison to mothers of normally developing children.
The team also observed autistic children whose mothers experienced preeclampsia were likelier to have lower levels of cognitive functioning. Furthermore, an existing correlation between developing delays and preeclampsia was also observed in those without autism.
It should be noted that the present study was not meant to establish a causality, rather it aims to extend its efforts to help reduce preeclampsia.