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Pre-pregnancy folic acid linked to lower autism risk

Published on Feb 13, 2013 5:56 AM
 
Children born to women who started taking folic acid supplements four to eight weeks before pregnancy appear to be at a lower risk of autism, a study showed on Tuesday. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Children born to women who started taking folic acid supplements four to eight weeks before pregnancy appear to be at a lower risk of autism, a study showed on Tuesday.

Dr Pal Suren of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and colleagues looked into the use of folic acid supplements before and during early pregnancy, and any impact on the later risk of various disorders on the autism spectrum.

"Our main finding was that maternal use of folic acid supplements around the time of conception was associated with a lower risk of autistic disorder," the authors wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The journal recalled that many countries recommend flour be enriched with folic acid to lower the risk of birth defects, and that women are often advised to take folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy.

 
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