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Early Research Hints At Link Between Prenatal Anti-Depressant Use and Autism

The Illinois birth injury lawyers at our firm know that autism is one of the most well-known childhood developmental disorders, affecting countless families in our area and throughout the country. As PubMed Health explains, autism affects the development of the brain, particularly areas affecting social and communication skills. According to the latest information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism is more common than many suspect. Boys are affected upwards of four times more than girls
No specific causes have yet to be proven, however it has been linked to abnormal biology and brain chemistry. Most suspect that a combination of factors is likely at play. On one hand, genetic factors are involved, because identical twins are much more likely than sibling or even fraternal twins to both have autism. However, the research area remains very active and experts continue to work every day on studies that shed more light on what might cause the developmental disorder.

Just this week the Health Jockey reported on the results of a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which may ultimately prove to have implications for the way certain drugs are known to influence autism. The new research out of the University of Mississippi Centre and University of California has found that rats which used anti-depressants during certain developmental phases displayed abnormalities similar to human autism sufferers. The specific drugs involved are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and some involved believe that consumption of the drugs during conception may contribute to autism.

The analysis in this case involved nearly 200 rats which were exposed to the drugs during specific brain development stages. They were treated for a span of two weeks beginning roughly a week after their birth. Experts explain that this is similar to the third trimester and early infancy in humans. When compared with a control group, the rats treated with SSRIs showed significantly less playfulness, and weaker socialization. Interestingly, the influence of the drug exposure appeared more prominent in male rats than in females, similar to the prevalence found in human autism.

The lead researchers in the study explained that that “this study is a starting point and a lot more research needs to be done.” Those involved next plan to examine SSRIs in human tests. They plan on considering the effects of certain dosages and the time of use to determine if an autism connection can be found.

The Chicago personal injury attorneys at our firm work with individuals who suffer a wide range of harm, from medical malpractice to preventable birth defects. Of course, not all types of injury or developmental problems are caused by things that could have been prevented had others acted more carefully. However, as medical research improves and new information is found about the causes of certain problems, including autism, birth defects, and other issues, than it is important for those in a position to prevent the resultant harm to do so. This includes those helping guide parents through the prenatal care.

If at any time you or a loved one suspects that they have not received the care to which you were entitled which may have prevents injury to you or a new child, please get in touch with our office to learn how we can help.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

The Connection Between Birth Defects and Antidepressants

Birth Injuries – Could There Be a Link to Autism?