According to the latest study that was conducted on 320.000 babies, researchers linked autism to gestational diabetes. This study lasted from 1995 to 2009, and it was conducted at Kaiser Permanente Southern. After long research, they discovered that children who were born to mothers who developed gestational diabetes (before 26 weeks of pregnancy) had 63% higher risk of having autism spectrum disorder. Researchers then check education, ethnicity, the child’s sex and household income and reduced that risk to 42%.
The rate among kids whose mothers had gestational diabetes was 1 in 80. The overall rate of autism disorder among participants was 1 in 100. Sadly, the researchers don’t know the real cause of the autism. Women with previously diagnosed diabetes (those women were used a proper diet, medications and insulin) weren’t responsible for higher risk of developing autism among their children. Also, women who got gestational diabetes after 26 weeks weren’t responsible as well. The conclusion was that the exposure of the fetus to high blood sugar levels may affect brain development.
The next goal of this study will be to determine why early gestational diabetes and the risk of autism are linked. Scientists still don’t know what causes autism spectrum disorder, but there are some claims that mix of the environment and genetic factors is responsible. It is known that this disorder may run in families. Having one child with autism increases the risk of subsequent brother/sister that could be diagnosed with this disorder. According to the National Institute of Health, autisms is also linked to mother’s exposure to the pesticides, air pollution and maternal obesity.