Exposure to this stuff in pregnancy linked to high risk of ADHD, autism

In a new study, researchers found Exposure to acetaminophen in the womb may increase a child’s risk for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism.

The research was conducted by a team at the Johns Hopkins University.

ADHD is marked by a pattern of hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Autism is a complex developmental disorder that affects how a person behaves, interacts with others and learns.

In the study, the researchers analyzed data from the Boston Birth Cohort, a long-term study of factors influencing pregnancy and child development.

They collected umbilical cord blood from 996 births and measured the amount of acetaminophen and two of its byproducts in each sample.

By the time the children were an average of 8.9 years, 25.8% had been diagnosed with ADHD only, 6.6% with autism only and 4.2% with ADHD and autism.

The researchers classified the amount of acetaminophen and its byproducts in the samples into thirds, from lowest to highest.

Compared to the lowest third, the middle third of exposure was linked to about 2.26 times the risk for ADHD.

The highest third of exposure was linked to 2.86 times the risk. Similarly, autism risk was higher for those in the middle third (2.14 times) and the highest third (3.62 times).

The authors conclude that their results support earlier studies linking acetaminophen exposure in the womb with ADHD and autism and underscore the need for additional research.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration urges careful consideration before using any pain-relieving medication during pregnancy.

The lead author of the study is Xiaobing Wang, M.D. from the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The study is published in JAMA Psychiatry.

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