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Studies by husband and wife researchers at MIT and the University of Massachusetts (now at Harvard) may help explain a link between autism and severe infection during pregnancy, the MIT News reports.
Bacterial populations in the mother’s GI tract may play a central role. The research finds that mothers who experience an infection severe enough to require hospitalization during pregnancy are at higher risk of having a child with autism.
A 2010 study that included all children born in Denmark between 1980 and 2005 found that severe viral infections during the first trimester of pregnancy translated to a threefold risk for autism, and serious bacterial infections during the second trimester were linked with a 1.42-fold increase in risk. These infections included influenza, viral gastroenteritis, and severe urinary tract infections.Read Now