Safeminds Reviews Contradicting Examine on Maternal Smoking and Autism
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New study contradicts last month’s study which shows an association
Citing that research on in utero exposure to maternal environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) or active maternal smoking and the development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been contradicting, researchers at the California Department of Health took cotinine levels in utero studied as a measure of tobacco exposure. The results of their new study were recently published in Autism Research, the official journal of the International Society of Autism Research (INSAR). To conduct this research, the study’s authors measured cotinine levels in blood samples taken from women in their second trimester. A total of 498 ASD cases and 499 controls born in California between 2011 and 2012 were retrieved for this investigation. The research team also received self-reported cigarette smoking habits of the mothers during and immediately before pregnancy, as well as other relevant information from birth registries. After evaluating the data on maternal cotinine concentrations, the researchers found no association between in utero exposure to tobacco smoke from maternal ETS exposure or from active smoking and ASA. This finding contradicts a study a few weeks ago that reported that heavy smoking during pregnancy was linked to autism in offspring. Last month’s study concluded by relating California birth registries to cases of autism maintained by the California Department of Developmental Services. However, this new study is the first to measure cotinine in the mother’s blood during pregnancy and then examine the chemical’s link to the development of autism in offspring. The March of Dimes, an organization that advocates the health of all pregnant mothers and babies, compiles a list of dozens of health risks for infants born to smoking mothers. Interestingly, autism is not on their list, which confirms the conclusion of this new study and also provides additional evidence that maternal smoking during pregnancy does not fuel the autism epidemic.