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April 9th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Mom's weight may be risk factor for autism

A mother's weight and diabetic condition may increase the risk of her unborn child developing a neurodevelopmental disorder, such as autism, according to a new study published in this week's journal Pediatrics.

Researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute in California found that mothers-to-be who were obese were 67% more likely to have a child with autism as opposed to normal-weight mothers without diabetes or hypertension.

And a pregnant woman who is obese doubles her child's risk of having another developmental disorder (poor communication skills, lack of attention) compared to a child born to a mother at healthy weight.

The study included 1,004 mother-and-child pairs who were enrolled in the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment Study (CHARGE). Most of the families were from Northern California, with a small group living in Los Angeles.

The children were between 24 and 60 months old; 517 children had autism; 172 with other developmental disorders; and 315 were developing normally. The participants were enrolled between January 2003 and June 2010.

When it came to women with diabetes, researchers discovered they had more than two times the chance of having a child with developmental delays as opposed to those without diabetes.

"I was surprised at how strong the obesity effect was on new-born children and their cognitive development," said Dr. Irva Hertz-Picciotto, professor of Epidemiology and a researcher at the MIND Institute . "And we didn't just look at weight," she continued. "We looked at diabetes, and hypertension in mothers to see how those conditions affected their children. It was pretty significant."

The study also found that children with autism who were born to diabetic mothers had greater deficits in communication skills than the children with autism born to healthy mothers. Yet, many children who were not diagnosed with autism, but had diabetic mothers, also showed some signs of socialization problems as well as poor communication skills, compared to the non-autistic children of healthy women.

"Over a third of U.S. women in their childbearing years are obese and nearly one-tenth have gestational or type 2 diabetes during pregnancy," said Paula Krakowiak, a biostatician with the MIND Institute. "Our finding that these maternal conditions may be linked with neurodevelopment problems in children raises concerns and therefore may have serious public-health implications."

For more than a decade researchers have been looking for a genetic cause for autism. But new research suggests multiple genetic mutations make a child susceptible for the disorder.

In recent years, scientists have also been looking for environmental triggers that push these genetically susceptible children over the edge. As the search for these triggers continues, this research seems to suggest obesity may be one of those triggers in some cases.

Its authors say this is the first study to examine associations between neurodevelopmental disorders and maternal metabolic conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 60% of U.S. women of childbearing age are overweight, 34% are obese, and 16% have metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes.

Nearly 9% of U.S.women of childbearing age are diabetic, and more than 1% of U.S. pregnancies are complicated because the mother has high blood pressure.

Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes and hypertension and can increase insulin resistance and inflammation in the body. Study authors suggest in women with diabetes, unregulated sugar in the body can result in prolonged fetal exposure to high glucose levels which doctors say can affect brain development in unborn children.

"The fetus depends on the mother for nutrients," noted Dr. Hertz-Picciotto. "So at certain times in the fetal development if sugar levels or other nutrients are too high or too low, the imbalance can affect the fetus, especially when it comes to the brain."

But Hertz-Picciotto said there was good news from this study.

"The best thing about this is a lot of this can be modified," she said. "If you are thinking about getting pregnant, watch your weight and if you have diabetes have your doctor keep a close eye on you so you keep your glucose under control while you're carrying your baby."


soundoff (380 Responses)
  1. amdachel

    If health officials really wanted to settle the debate over autism’s cause, they’d call for the one study that could do it. Why has there never been a study comparing fully-vaccinated children with never-vaccinated ones? Do never vaccinated children also have a one percent autism rate? Thousands of parents and a growing number of doctors and scientists link an ever-expanding vaccine schedule to the epidemic increase in autism. This is the science that could tell us what’s really causing so many children to be disabled.
    Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

    April 9, 2012 at 01:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • whiteandnerdy

      Ms Dachel,

      Here one more time is a study of vaccinated kids vs. 100% unvaccinated and just like every other time in the last 11.5 years, there was no difference in risk for autism (page 44).

      (function() { var scribd = document.createElement("script"); scribd.type = "text/javascript"; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = "#{root_url}javascripts/embed_code/inject.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })()

      Seems like Age of Autism is much too busy selling advertising to get the most basic facts correct, or to even bother to read studies before commenting on them.

      Too bad, all the families impacted by autism deserve much better than the Age of Autism nonsense.

      W&N

      April 9, 2012 at 07:34 | Report abuse |
    • JimmyH

      I find it interesting that you acknowledge that there are 1 to 1 studies for children with or without vaccination in relationship to autism. Yet it is very clear that you believe without any doubt, that vaccinations cause the problem. I also find it interesting that you think this is "dead end" research. Why? Because it did not scientifically reach the same conclusion you have reached without science? Take the argument and emotion from your blogs and what you have is a disappointed parent with no one to blame.

      April 9, 2012 at 07:34 | Report abuse |
    • Kokenki

      The one study that linked vaccination to autism turned out to be fraud; it was designed and faked to make money for lawyers.

      April 9, 2012 at 07:34 | Report abuse |
    • SHT

      I think they found there was no link to vaccines about two years ago. The doctor who stated this apparently lied for the grant money. They've definitely linked it to genetics though.

      April 9, 2012 at 07:40 | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      From my experience, every one that I know that has an autistic child was thin and didn't develop diabetes. Looks like they're grasping for straws. Every autistic child that i knew developed the symptoms after their vaccinations. The truth will come out eventually.

      April 9, 2012 at 07:41 | Report abuse |
    • Jill B

      Ann! I could not agree with you more!! The government is doing us no favors in 'not' studying fully vaccinated children. If they are so adamant as to 'how safe' vaccines are, then by all means-do a study and show the world that they can back up what they claim.

      April 9, 2012 at 07:51 | Report abuse |
    • whiteandnerdy

      No Jill B all that is left on this topic is the psychology of denialism.

      A government study of vaccinated vs. 100% unvaccinated kids is posted above. And yet somehow–just like Ms Dachel– you continue to assert that it doesn't exist.

      W&N

      April 9, 2012 at 08:03 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth Miclette

      This is a load of horse stuff, considering a mother's weight as a factor. Our daughter (adopted) has a form of autism. She is adopted (at 1 day old) and our birth mother was in amazing physical condition as to her weight/height/bmi. (No, not a factor in the adoption selection process!). Also, she is fully vaccinated. We have another family member on the spectrum who is not vaccinnated, his mother is completely fine for weight – not overweight in the slightest, and he has a form.
      Try again, guessors!

      April 9, 2012 at 08:05 | Report abuse |
    • xeno

      You have to get over this. My brother's kids have never been vaccinated, never received a shot for anything, yet two of the children have autism. It's not vaccines. Interestingly, it's what they thought, too, and why their children are not vaccinated. How do you explain two non vaccinated children with ASP with your vaccine theory?

      April 9, 2012 at 08:11 | Report abuse |
    • EJB

      Elizabeth M – it's only saying that the obesity COULD lead to autism or other developmental disorders – not that it WILL

      April 9, 2012 at 08:12 | Report abuse |
    • Crystal

      Vaccines do not cause autism. Stop listening to Jenny McCrthy and read research written, peer reviewed,and published by real doctors instead of a former bunny looking for someone to blame.

      Then again, if you did, you'd be out of business.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:12 | Report abuse |
    • mikeb

      Some of you people need to understand what "MAY" or "LINKED" means. Anecdotes are not scientific evidence. Smoking causes lung cancer, but you will find plenty of people who get it who never smoked in their life. This does not mean they are wrong when they say smoking causes lung cancer. So yes, there are going to be plenty of fit mothers who give birth to autistic children. The article is saying that obese/diabetic women are MORE LIKELY to have an autistic child. They are NOT saying "ONLY obese women will have autistic children". Read the article, stop denying evidence when it is given right to your face, and this stupid argument about vaccinations will maybe finally end. I know that won't happen though because even if there are 200000 studies saying they don't, there will always be the screeching harpies who don't read saying "MY child was diagnosed with autism after vaccination so you are WRONG"

      April 9, 2012 at 08:22 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @Elizabeth Miclette

      The article says 67% greater chance. Not… 100% of children with autism are from fatty’s like yourself. Please return said child to her real mother. You clearly are not fit to raise her.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:27 | Report abuse |
    • Elivaa

      They don't do that study because how you have proposed it is not science.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:29 | Report abuse |
    • Seola

      I just still don't understand how people who "write" on the subject apparently have no idea about hundreds of studies out there. Baffling. I researched YOU and saw your writings... writing to the lowest form to get parents in hysteria off fake theories never researched yet, you don't know about research that IS out there. Go away profiteer.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:30 | Report abuse |
    • Neeneko

      Because such studies have been done over and over and found no connect.

      Seriously, every single argument against vaccines has been shot down over and over and over again.... you people really need to drop this boogies man rather then keep trying to attach the same 'cause' to whatever problem people can think of.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:35 | Report abuse |
    • RC

      Anyone that still believes vaccines cause Autism has to live with their head stuck in a hole. That single study has already been debunked. Wake up already!

      April 9, 2012 at 08:38 | Report abuse |
    • whiteandnerdy

      " Anyone that still believes vaccines cause Autism has to live with their head stuck in a hole."

      Or making money off of it....

      W&N

      April 9, 2012 at 08:50 | Report abuse |
    • Me Too

      Kathy: The article indicates that high blood pressure may also be a factor. Thin people can have high blood pressure, too, and it can arise for women just during pregnancy. Pregnant women frequently encounter medical conditions such as this even if they didn't have them before.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:00 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      The study has been done. It has found no differences.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:00 | Report abuse |
    • Will

      Should I pile on? Sure, why not. I make vaccines for a living. Vaccines are my life. I know more about vaccines than anyone else you might meet on this forum. People have been trying to link vaccines to all sorts of problems ever since Edward Jenner introduced the concept in 1796. Why? Who knows. But the fact remains that vaccines are incredibly safe and that there is absolutely no evidence linking any vaccine to any type of autism. In fact, contrary evidence exists. There are autism "hot spots" around the nation that tend to be in industrial, blue collar areas where vaccine coverage is lower than average. I have four kids. They get all the mandatory vaccines, all the optional vaccines, and every experimental vaccine that comes through the clinical trial pipeline. My kids were in the first group of test cases that got the pediatric H1N1 vaccine in 2009. I know that parents with autistic kids are looking for an easy excuse, something or someone to blame. But look elsewhere. Vaccines are an absolute good that have made a huge impact on public health. The existence of widespread vaccination is one of the main reasons that average life expectancy in the US has climbed from 47 years in 1900 to 78 years today. Vaccines eliminate sickness, suffering, and death. Vaccines do not cause autism, and there's not a single shred of evidence anywhere to suggest otherwise.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:45 | Report abuse |
    • Patriarchae

      As someone else here linked to, there have already been a couple pretty conclusive studies that show beyond reasonable doubt that vaccines and autism have no link. But of course, I bet you've already seen the studies and I bet that you continue to ignore them and invent some mindless rationalization about why they are wrong. Your type takes a preconceived notion and tries to stuff a square peg in a round hole in an attempt to magically make it come true. Of course most vaccines have the potential for nasty side effects in some people, but that is NOT a common occurrence.

      Honestly, if people are too scared to vaccinate their kids because some fraudster told them they're gonna get autism or some disease or die, I say let 'em go unvaccinated. Hopefully they'll die off quickly and the sort of stupid that these people are can be wiped from the gene pool.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:45 | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      Diabetes and obesity has been reversed in over 10,000 people by using a specialized diabetes diet. The diet also reversed body fat in people trying to lose weight. Scientists showed food chemicals is the cause of almost all diabetes. They also showed how to reverse your own diabetes without medications.

      just google SPIRIT HAPPY DIET

      April 9, 2012 at 09:48 | Report abuse |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      I love that someone can label themselves the "editor" of some site that sounds terribly official, yet not even know of the most basic studies being done in their claimed field of expertise.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:54 | Report abuse |
    • memyselfandi

      My son has never received one vaccination and was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder in April 2010. Now, two years later, with drastic changes in diet, environment, and teaching him coping skills.....he attends a normal kindergarten, is incredibly intelligent, has friends, shows affection, and you would never be able to tell he isn't a "normal" 5 1/2 year old.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:57 | Report abuse |
    • newparent

      whiteandnerdy,

      Did you even read the link to the simpsonwood transcript? I've only read part of the 286 pages but here are just a couple of quotes. "we have found statistically significant relationships between the exposure and the outcome" in reference to exposure to thimerosal and the outcomes being various neurological disorders. "an increase of 0.7% for each additional microgram of ethyl mercury" in reference to exposure levels at 3 months. So exactly how do you get that this study translates to vaccines have been proven to not impact neurological development.

      As a new parent I have done various research and have yet to find a good study that shows no link. This one in fact says that there is an impact to neurological development. However, I would even say it is inconclusive because of the number of glaring holes in this study. So please, if you have a link to a double blind study of 100% vaccinated versus 100% unvaccinated children I would love to see it. I just have not found one.

      Thanks.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:39 | Report abuse |
    • whitenandnerdy

      New parent,
      You should have read more than: the autism section is around page 40.
      Also helps if you understand hypothesis testing….
      At very least we can all read, see that the controls were 100% unvaccinated kids, and notice that the anti-vaccs simply will not get the basic facts correct.
      W&N

      April 9, 2012 at 17:27 | Report abuse |
    • newparent

      whiteandnerdy,

      Yeah I read past page 40 and I saw that they did not see a connection with autism. But that was the autism diagnosis of that time. What about the other neuro development disorders that they DID find a link to like ADD, speech delays, etc. that in today's diagnosis may get lumped into something on the autism spectrum. Its also faulty to even call these 100% unvaccinated, they were only tracking mercury exposure up to 6 months. What about the parents that just didn't start vaccinating until after 6 months. Like I said, the study does not prove anything other than there IS a link to neuro development disorders and mercury exposure in the first months of life. How can that be ignored?

      April 9, 2012 at 18:12 | Report abuse |
    • whiteandnerdy

      Newparent,

      Did you notice here that the topic was autism?

      And you did notice that the assertion that there is no data comparing vaccinated kids with unvaccinated is untrue—right?

      After getting the words right the next step is to understand the science.

      In hypothesis testing—as they used it—every single test has a 5% chance of yielding a false positive. And they did so many tests that of course they got some positives. Since this was understood from the start, they designed the experiment to retest the positives in a different dataset to separate real positives from false positives. This showed that the ADD etc were false positives.

      W&N

      April 9, 2012 at 21:36 | Report abuse |
    • newparent

      whiteandnerdy,

      Yeah I guess its completely dumb of me to relate neuro development disorders like language and speech delays, tics, ADD with anything on the autism spectrum. Perhaps you would like to point me to what page of the transcript the assertion of 5% false positives ruled out the correlations. And again, if you read the report they only equated unvaccinated children to children than had no mercury exposure up to 6 months.

      What about all these numerous other studies you seem to know about? Can you point me to these? The fact is unless there is a controlled study with a sample of 100% unvaccinated children versus following the normal vaccination schedule you will always have naysayers.

      April 10, 2012 at 13:49 | Report abuse |
    • WhiteandNerdy

      Newparent

      I gave you a controlled study following 100% unvaccinated kids compared to kids with the standard vaccine schedule…you don’t seem to have understood the data.

      And dumb has nothing to do with it–It is ignorance. Pretty simple: if you want to understand the results, learn about hypothesis testing, if you aren’t that interested, then don’t post on the subject or at very least trust the statisticians.
      W&N

      April 10, 2012 at 22:33 | Report abuse |
  2. amdachel

    It’s incredible what researchers will come up with as a possible factor in autism. Most of the findings lay the blame on the parents. We haven’t come very far from the days of the refrigerator mom. Other studies implicate older dads, older moms, bad genes, antidepressants during pregnancy, and living too close to a freeway.

    In truth, this is a story that will be quickly forgotten. There is no way this study could explain why autism now affects one in every 88 children in the U.S. and among boys alone, one in every 54. It doesn’t tell us why thousands of parents report that their child was born healthy and was developing normally until they received certain routine vaccinations. Suddenly they changed. Many stopped talking and lost learned skills. Others developed things like seizures, bowel disease, and sleep disorders along with their autism. Doctors can’t explain this. They call it a coincidence; at the same time they tell us that autism has no known cause or cure. There’s nothing a mainstream doctor can tell a new mother to do so that her baby doesn’t also end up on the autism spectrum. How many more years will be wasted with dead-end research like this?

    Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

    April 9, 2012 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SHT

      I don't think they're trying to "blame" the mothers. I think they're just trying to find a cause for the disorder. If it is something that we can control, then it's our jobs as mothers to be sure to stay healthy. If it's genetic–which I think it is–then there isn't much we can do about that.

      April 9, 2012 at 07:44 | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      Research has shown that the older the mother is the higher chance that they will have a child with downs syndrome. Is that blaming the parents? Studies have shown that some conditions require two parents to pass on the trait. Is that blaming the parents.

      You want proof that vaccines are the cause right? You will not accept proof that vaccines are not the cause though. Thats life i guess.

      April 9, 2012 at 07:54 | Report abuse |
    • tomjones607

      Anne: Hasn't the vaccine myth been invalidated several times now? I have a niece with autism so I'm not insensitive to those seeking the root cause of autism. I'm more inclined to believe that the general health of the parents is the far more prevalent cause of autism. Even so-called healthy parents these days grew up eating way more processed foods than my parents did and what little fresh meat/vegetables they eat has been genetically modified. Barking up the vaccine tree is old news and a disservice to those seeking find the root cause of autism.

      April 9, 2012 at 07:55 | Report abuse |
    • kmcg

      There are lots of studies that have been done to try and replicate the inaccurate study done in Britain... none found the same correlations. Unfortunately, kids show signs of autism right about when vaccines are given, that's the only correlation – child's age, not the vaccine.

      http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/Autism/Index.html

      They have a few scientific articles there.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:00 | Report abuse |
    • hugyourself

      As someone who is doing research on neuro-psychiatric disorders, I am always amazed by the number of people who attempt to convince themselves and others that well-executed scientific studies should be thrown out, just because they don't feel the results are worthwhile. In reality, this study is a major development in finding factors that may lead to pervasive development disorders. No one is placing blame on the parents; this isn't about pointing fingers, it's about helping people. When a researcher or physician identifies a causal factor, they are not doing so to make the family feel bad. People with 10+ years of higher education that are dedicating themselves to a particular field are doing so because they truly want to do their part to help. Most medical problems are complex and we (as a society) welcome input from new sources. Yet, a small percentage of people choose to believe autism is somehow different than every other disease and disorder humans can experience. The reality is that genetic and environmental factors are always involved in illness at some point in their development. You don't have to like the results of a study, but you should probably read the published scientific article before spewing disdain for it on the internet. This study is factual and beneficial; your comments are not.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:16 | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Amdachel: Have you ever considered that that person just had a bad reaction to the vaccine? It happens, I mean, for every object in this world, there is someone out there that is allergic to it. The vast majority of people have been vaccinated, so under your theory, the vast majority of people should have autism, but we don't. Most likey the cause is not from any one source, but the many sources humans come across that are bad. Our food is so processed our bodies do not get the proper nutrients, our homes, food, work place, soaps, cars, air, everything has bad stuff in it that man has made without knowing the consequences. Then again, for some, it is purely genetics. I personally think that is why so many studies link to autism and other problems, because those problems come about from multiple sources. I'm not a doctor or scientist, this comment is purely my opinion.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:20 | Report abuse |
    • Seola

      Yet another comment based off stuff you "made up" – and don't seem to know about ACTUAL research done. Your writing is horrible, your scare tactics in your writings are inane.

      Amazingly, you are not too bright to consider that the autism rates ARE going up and almost on par with obesity rates for women of childbearing age. This study has a LOT of credence to it and it syncs up several things.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:33 | Report abuse |
    • MinnieG

      The Vaccine Theory was FAKE. It caused so much heartbreak and posed serious risks to children whose parents who fell for it. I come from India, and I KNOW what lack of vaccines mean. It means a plethora of preventable diseases that could be fatal in ways Autism might never be! Do you even have an IOTA of idea how many death Measles and Whooping Cough cause??
      My neaighbor has 4 kids, and she fell for it too. Her 2nd developed Autism, so she chose not to vaccine her 4th one as some nutjobs convinced her that vaccines caused it. Sure enough, her youngest was diagonosed with even more severe form of Autism than her 2nd one. Now she is fighting for finding the real reason, and educates parents on various platforms how not to fall for propoganda and deprive children of the safety net the Americans have come to take for granted.
      Please do people a favor and don't spread these lies and misinformation anymore – the parents already have too much going on without having to face more challenges from Quack findings. At least controlling Diabetes and weight will pose no harm to anyone, quite contrary in fact.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:43 | Report abuse |
    • Justyna

      I have a high-functioning Autistic child and I fit into none of the factors listed here. I was 26 when I had him, was a healthy weight, was not on any medication before or during my pregnancy, have no family history of anything even remotely likely to cause this issue...and the list goes on. My personal feeling is that it's environmental. I have nothing to prove it except for my own health, but I fully believe it's what's happening to these kids – and to many other people who have developed diseases over the past 20 or 30 years. I think we need to take a hard look at the whole picture, not just one epidemic.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:56 | Report abuse |
    • jojo61397

      As an Aspie and a mother to a child with autism. I don't really give a flying #*$& what causes autism. What are researchers going to do once they find out the true cause? The only viable reason I can see for finding a mechanism of blame is to eradicate that reason. That being said, why not do research on non-medicated approaches to treated autism and make us more a viable, functional part of society. I already know what caused my son's autism– DUH. Help me get him reading, writing, talking, communicating, functioning, and not a burden to society, addicted to anti-psychotics.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:06 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Blaming mothers? It's been shown that mothers with diabetes are more likely to give birth to too-heavy babies and their babies are more likely to have sugar metabolism problems. Is it blaming the mothers to report that, too? Do we pretend that this it doesn't happen so we're not blaming mothers for heavy babies with metabolic problems? How about folic acid? It's been shown that mothers who do not ingest sufficient folic acid are more likely to have babies with neural tube defects (spina bifida). Is it blaming mothers to acknowledge that, too? Should we just deal with the resulting handicapped kids instead of letting the mothers know they should take folic acid supplements, because we don't want them to feel like we're blaming them? Or is it only autism in which any maternal biological effect is "blame" and therefore bad?

      Just because the obvious symptoms of autism show up at the same time as common vaccinations does not mean there's a connection. Correlation does not equal causation. There are unvaccinated children with autism. There are cases of autism in the literature from before vaccination for children or parents (um, can we blame mothers for that?) ever existed. There are studies showing that indicators of autism (shorter gaze time, etc.) are present in newborn infants. The vaccination connection was proposed (fraudulently). It was tested out. It was found nonexistent. Anyone who really wants to solve this mystery wouldn't be wasting their time barking up the wrong tree, and insisting that everyone else do the same.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:20 | Report abuse |
    • Wootings

      Firstly, you've firmly established that you're wildly disconnected from society with your anti-vax rhetoric. People like you, and Jenny McCarthy et al, are directly responsible for the needless deaths and suffering of children worldwide who have the misfortunt to be born to parents stupid enough to listen to you. You're one of the worst people currently living on this planet. Congratulations.

      Secondly, "In truth, this is a story that will be quickly forgotten" may be prophetic...because no one wants to believe that they are personally responsible for anything that goes wrong in their lives. People aren't going to want to believe that their own lack of care for their own bodies can have an adverse affect on their children.

      It appears, though, that that is the case. So if indeed society does not heed this information well, and truly does "forget this story," then it will be to the great detriment of all mankind. Like you yourself are.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:55 | Report abuse |
    • Carlos Simones

      I recently rejected all of the 5 vaccines that they wanted to give my son along with his annual checkup. Why? Am I a bad parent? No, I love my son too much to allow someone to pump formaldehyde, aluminium, mercury etc. into his body.(Yes I read the ingredients before making a decision) If you slipped any of these susbtances into a glass that an adult is drinking from, you would face attempted murder charges, yet it's okay to pump them into an infants body. Am I the only one that sees something wrong with this picture. Interestingly, the CDC and FDA recognize that these vaccines should NEVER be introduced directly into the bloodstream, but rather into fatty tissue... what if the nurse doesn't get it right and actually pierces a blood vessel? Why is it that they only say it should never happen but never explain what the consequences are if it does happen. I think vaccines do cause damage to children, but the majority seem to be able to recover fairly well. Whether there are other long term effects I don't know, but since the CDC and FDA refuse to order long term and more conclusive studies, I guess we'll never know.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:03 | Report abuse |
    • Neeneko

      @Carlos

      Yes, you are a bad parent. You are allowing the association of big scary words that 'sound' toxic but have not been shown to be dangerous to prevent your child from receiving vaccinations that prevent real diseases that can be life threatening or cause life long damage.

      You are allowing your own ignorance to endanger your child. So yes, you are a bad parent, but luckily the probably is good that your child will still be ok because other people are vaccinating.

      And no, you would not be charged with 'murder' for putting those ingredients in an adult's drink because *gasp* you don't get sick from them, even though they have big scary scientific sounding names.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:13 | Report abuse |
    • jojo61397

      Carlos–

      you are not a bad parent. One child is vaxed, one is unvaxed. My husband is vaxed, I am unvaxed. I had reactions to shots, my son has reactions to shots. My FIL is a bad parent, he systematically sexually abused all three of his children, plus a niece and a roommates kid. Comparing someone who opts not to vaccinate a child, due to concerning ingredients in those vaccines to a child molester is cruel.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:38 | Report abuse |
    • A scientist

      Science isn't about blame, it is about finding truth. Are you suggesting that if scientists demonstrate that there is something parents could be doing to reduce autism, that they shouldn't publish the studies because it might make existing parents of autistic kids feel guilty? No one is blaming parents; as a parent, if there is something that my doctor can suggest that will reduce autism risk, I want to know.

      Good scientists do the studies, and go where the data lead them, whether the results are comfortable or not. The anti-vaccine community has done exactly the opposite - picked a theory and desperately defended it regardless of the evidence.

      Interestingly, your post perhaps provides insight into why you have latched so strongly onto the vaccines issue. You clearly think that it is important to shift any responsibility away from parent, so it seems that you have latched onto the vaccines boogeyman as am easy way to blame the evil pharmaceutical companies.

      Your reflexive dismissal of research that disputes your preconceived notions, combined with your complete unwillingness to admit that the vaccines issue has been thoroughly examined both make it clear that you have little worthwhile to add to this discussion. Sadly, you seem to have decided that the money to be made touting conspiracy theories is worth more than the health of the children you pretend to defend.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:55 | Report abuse |
    • iminim

      Autism is a complex condition which likely has both genetic predisposition & environmental factors that contribute to its presence and severity. Those people looking for a single genetic or environmental cause will likely never be satisfied. Even a disease as well understood as atherosclerosis is the result of a myriad of interacting factors such as age, genetics, lifestyle factors (alcohol, drugs, diet, tobacco, stress), blood pressure, diabetes, lipid levels, chronic inflammatory conditions (autoimmune disease, gum disease and other chronic infections), etc. Autism is even more complex & involves brain development; an area we know much less about than other body organs, like the heart.

      I understand how distressed and struggling parents can want there to be an easy answer. Some may feel somehow responsible for their child's condition & take research involving weight or other lifestyle factors personally. But blame and conspiracy theories get us nowhere and do not help our children. Learn how to recognize, read & understand legitimate scientific research. Lobby for more research & education on autism. Participate in research studies with your child. The people who perform & publish sound scientific research are not the enemy. Learn how to recognize the good guys & support their efforts.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:36 | Report abuse |
  3. Benjamin Jordan

    These mothers should be tested to see how much of the Neonicotinoid pesticide from the High Fructose Corn Syrup that loads the foods that they eat to become obese. If it cause Autistic like behavior in bees then what does it do to humans? I'm not being paranoid, I would just like to know if an ingredient in almost all prepared food in America might not be good for humans.

    April 9, 2012 at 01:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kim

      Benjamin – I think you make a good point concerning the foods we eat. NPR did a story last week about frozen hamburger patties sold in school lunches which has around 21ingredients to make ONE patty. Seriously! You need a degree in chemistry to pronounce most of the ingredients. I think it starts with the basic – healthy, organic foods – no genetically modified components. Farmers/industry need to stop feeding chickens antibiotics and feeding cattle corn products. Cattle are supposed to eat grass and chickens are like every other bird – their diet should consist of bugs, worms, and seeds!

      April 9, 2012 at 07:45 | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Good observation mr Benjamin. There are reasons why we do not find the things we eat, in those concentrations in nature, cause our bodies were never ment to consume like that. Sugar should be a treat, but it is now in everything, foods naturally have salt in them, but we add much much more salt to all of our foods. We eat more meat then we should, not enough veggies and fruit, to much sugar and fat, processed foods that have no nutritional value, also known as empty calories. Even if the serving size is correct, these processed foods have way to many calories in them. I could go on but I think you get the point. All I can say, based on my personal experience, eat fish, chicken or turkey for your meat source, and lots of veggies and fruit. I couldn't believe the differnce in how I felt after I started doing that. Even though I don't work out (yet, working on that part) I've still lost a lot of weight, just from eating healthy.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:27 | Report abuse |
    • Neeneko

      Wow, way to jump on the 'flavor of the month' bandwagon.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:08 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      I saw something about how to lose weight recently: "Read the ingredients list; if it has one, don't eat it." While that, like most diet advice, is a bit extreme, they do have a point there. A lot of food (especially snack food) advertising is along the lines of "eat this and you'll feel good." People expect to feel pleasure from eating Brand X, so the makers of Brand X load it with more pleasure-inducing ingredients than Brand Y has. The makers of Brand Y, who are also advertising "eat this and you'll feel good," do the same. And the thing that will give people a quick boost from their food is sugar. So they put in more sugar. Salt, too, that makes it taste good, and fat too.

      So a lot of it really comes down to the fact that we want to eat food that makes us feel good, without much concern for whether the food is good. It doesn't really matter who's to blame - advertisers selling the whole feel-good thing, parents using food as a reward, "comfort eating," or something else ... the fact remains that we want our food to make us feel good, and we buy accordingly.

      And the problem isn't going to even slow down until we take a good, hard look, not at what we're eating, but at why we're eating it.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:33 | Report abuse |
  4. snowdogg

    "mothers-to-be who were obese were 67% more likely to have a child with autism as opposed to normal-weight mothers"

    Good enough reason to lose the lbs.

    April 9, 2012 at 07:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. cham101

    Science is a little slow on the uptake. We know that autism is becoming more prevalent. We also know that America is becoming fat. Now we know that fat mothers are more likely to bear autistic children. Why did it all the way to 2012 to figure this out? Apparently studying the negative effects of obesity is too much of a politically incorrect hot potato.

    April 9, 2012 at 07:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I’m sorry lol… I can’t take anyone seriously who says something like “Science is a little slow on the uptake”. There is so much to be said about a comment like that…but I can’t stop laughing.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:31 | Report abuse |
  6. bluman

    Well said, Anne. The only mothers I know with autistic children are thin, have always eaten healthy, did not have diabetes during pregnancy... give me some real facts before writing a story like this. Enough with the "could be's" and "might be's".

    April 9, 2012 at 07:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • whiteandnerdy

      Getting "real facts" would mean reading the study before commenting on it...

      W&N

      April 9, 2012 at 07:59 | Report abuse |
    • EJB

      "The only mothers you know with autistic children" is hardly a representative sample. Do you have access to their medical records or are you just looking at their size?

      April 9, 2012 at 08:07 | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      The study did mention that healthy mothers also had autistic kids, the fat mothers just had more of them. Keep trying fat girl.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:30 | Report abuse |
    • Elivaa

      The plural of anecdote is not data.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:36 | Report abuse |
    • Neeneko

      Real facts are easy to get a hold of, in fact the study is full of them, along with many other studies.
      Just because you choose to ignore them in favor of pseudo-science and conspiracy theories does not make them false. It just makes you a scared idiot.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:42 | Report abuse |
    • LRin

      I only know 4 families that have autistic or developmentally delayed children. And in all 4 of those families, the parents are MORBIDLY obese. There are a lot of people on here saying that they only know skinny people with autistic children, but we need to keep in mind that our worlds are very small compared to reality. This study shows that obesity during pregnancy causes the child to be at a higher risk, not that obesity is the single cause.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:09 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Science and medicine all about "could be's" and "might be's."

      Someone in this discussion mentioned smoking and lung cancer. It's accepted (even by the cigarette companies) that smoking greatly increases a smoker's chances of lung cancer. Not every smoker gets lung cancer. Not everyone with lung cancer is a smoker. But more people who smoke get lung cancer than otherwise similar people who don't smoke, and more people with lung cancer are smokers than otherwise similar people who aren't smokers.

      It's the same thing in this case. According to this study, overweight women are more likely to have autistic children. Just like not all smokers will get lung cancer, not all overweight mothers will have autistic children. Just like not all people with lung cancer are smokers, not all children with autism have overweight mothers. It's an increase in incidence.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:39 | Report abuse |
    • jojo61397

      Correlation does not equal causation. I have a child on the autism spectrum, I'm on the autism spectrum (aspergers). My mother was a track athlete when she had me. When I had my son, I weighed 125 pounds when I got pregnant (was a size 2), ran all the way up until the 7th month of pregnancy. Lost most of my pregnancy weight within four months of having my son. With my daughter, I weighed 125 when I got pregnant with her, ballooned to 233 pounds. She is neurotypical. Also the first week I was pregnant with her, I drank a bottle of wine, without realizing I was pregnant.

      April 9, 2012 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
  7. J

    Most kids with autism have a genetic condition causing the autism. There are thousands of single gene and chromosome conditions known to cause autism. Just this year a new gene panel came out that tests close to 70 genes know to cause autism. If people really want to know what is going on stop the vaccine nonsense and start looking for the real causes . Studies have shown in non vaccinated and vaccinated children they both have a regression in development at 18 months old and it has nothing to do with vaccines.

    April 9, 2012 at 07:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brad

      More and more studies are learing just how much phito nutrients in food plays in gene ativation and spliting. Kinda enteresting since the developed words diet has gone down hill in nutrient value. You can add all the extra vatimins you want, but that does nothing for phito-nutrients.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:33 | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Brad- what is a phito nutrient? What is gene ativation and spliting? I've never heard of these things and think I know quite a lot about biology.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:23 | Report abuse |
  8. Kimberly

    Munch on this......AMISH children are not vaccinated. Amish children have a 1:10,000 rate of AUTISM. Research it yourself. CASE CLOSED. SCREW MERCK.

    April 9, 2012 at 07:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • whiteandnerdy

      Amish do vaccinate their children.

      Sadly those that make money claiming that vaccines cause autism keep asserting this falsehood.

      But like everything else from the anti-vaccs, once you start fact-checking you see that they are just about always wrong.

      W&N

      April 9, 2012 at 07:58 | Report abuse |
    • 1234

      Amish children are also unlikely to be diagnosed, maybe you should also research their lifestyle rather then taking only the information that suits your needs

      April 9, 2012 at 08:03 | Report abuse |
    • EJB

      Munch on this – have you EVER seen an obese Amish person?

      They also don't eat processed foods. Plus, I see Amish in my daughter's pediatrician's office every time I go.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:09 | Report abuse |
    • MoJo

      Amish people usually have a pretty healthy lifestyle free from preservatives and chemicals. Amish children are not exposed to TV, toys with flashing lights, and in general are not hyper-stimulated during their developmental years. Amish children, ARE, however, vaccinated.

      So maybe it has more to do with the environment in total as opposed to vaccinations.

      Jenny McCarthy went on every TV station running her mouth about something she knew NOTHING about. And in turn, has done a lot of harm and has shifted the focus from finding the real cause.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:10 | Report abuse |
    • The Mama Yada

      I live very near the heart of Amish country, and I can assure you that there are plenty of children and adults with mild, moderate, and severe mental and emotional disabilities, many of which fall on the autism spectrum. However autism can only be properly diagnosed by a someone qualified to do so (e.g. physician), and the Amish generally will not utilize traditional medicine unless absolutely necessary. They also do not marry outside of their circle, so if autism is introduced through a genetic component, that could also protect closed groups like that from it. They are also very private people who communicate with the outside only when necessary. They could actually have an 80% autism rate, but you would never get the chance to know it or measure it due to their private, secret, ways.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:16 | Report abuse |
    • xeno

      Amish families and communities don't use cell phones, eat genetically modified food, or surround themselves with chemical emitting plastic. There are many things to investigate. The case is NOT closed. Do you understand that your insistence on vaccines being the cause is the same as insisting no one look further to find out the real cause? Don't you think that's a bit selfish?

      April 9, 2012 at 08:19 | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Why don't you go preach that to those who got the polio vaccine, or the small pox vaccine. Kinda funny how those diseaseas have virtually dissapeared.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:36 | Report abuse |
  9. Melissa

    Let me mention, I was obese before getting pregnant, with high blood pressure and gestational diabetes when pregnant. I had healthly twins, who are not autistic, and have developed perfectly normally. Would love to hear what the percentages actually were. Not that the above factors are not risky in pregnancy, and I was high risk..........but next they link obesity to everything. Maybe we need to study why everyone pics obesity as there factor? WEIGHT BIAS ANYONE?

    April 9, 2012 at 07:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Crystal

      thank you.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:16 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      > WEIGHT BIAS ANYONE?

      Yes… the constant attempts by fatties too justify their disgusting life style.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:35 | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      There are sooooooo many studies showing absolute proof that obesity is bad. Make any axcuse you want, that is fine if you want to live in denial. The rest of us x fatties will continue to feel better, and live better, as non-obese people, the rest of ya can stay in denial. Lets see, since I lost my weight, stopped my way loud snoring, sleep better, my outlook is much more possitive, I think better (due to haveing the proper viatmins and minerals in me from healthy eating) I don't get tired near as easily, my skin is better. I could keep listing the benefits, but you already know.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:40 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      How about the fact that maybe obesity contributes to a lot of things? I'd say that's at least as likely a reason for researchers linking it to those things as some imagined bias on their parts.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:43 | Report abuse |
  10. Cynthia Zalenski

    Obesity and/or diabetes did not have anything to do with my pregnancy. Guess I'm part of the remaining 33% of that "statistic". This is frustrating and useless.

    April 9, 2012 at 07:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Guest

      You think that only a study that demonstrates complete, 100% correlation is useful?

      Keep waiting, because there isn't one. There will never be one. There is no one single factor causing the complex array of conditions we call the "autism spectrum" any more than there is one single factor causing the complex array of conditions we call "cancer." It's not that simple, and it's never that simple. That isn't how medicine, science, or life itself works.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:45 | Report abuse |
    • A scientist

      Studies such as these have hope for helping even those for whom the data does not directly apply. Currently, we have very little idea of the exact mechanism that leads to autism. However, by piecing together all of the things that can increase autism risk, we will get clues about the true cause. In other words, this is one piece to the puzzle.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:02 | Report abuse |
  11. Armchair Skeptic

    Am I reading this correctly? This article says that the study shows of 1004 children only 315 were normal, but 517 had autism, and 172 had other developmental disorders. Does it strike anyone else as strange that 68% of children born to overweight women in this study are developmentally disabled? Are they saying that if you are obese you have a less than 1 in 3 chance of having a normal child? And this staggering number has escaped the attention of pediatricians, midwives, teachers, social workers, scientists, and the spinners of old wives' tales for the entirety of human existence? I am extremely skeptical that no one has noticed this astounding phenomenon before.
    Discuss amongst yourselves.

    April 9, 2012 at 07:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kmcg

      Most likely it was a case-controlled study. They enrolled children with the disorders and normal children so they could see how they develop over time and could trace back similarities and differences.

      Clinical trials, especially with a vulnerable population (children) have very strict rules and regs that justify the design and analysis... unfortunately most news stations do not do a great job reporting these things.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:02 | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      Good grief. This is what happens when people don't read with comprehension.

      This was not a "random sample" from the population. For studies like this, they call for VOLUNTEERS. They ask for parents of children with autism, and parents of normal/healthy children. Think about this carefully for a second – if you have a normal, healthy child, you're LESS likely to enroll your kid in the study! That's regardless of the mother's weight, or anything else. If your child has autism, you're more invested in the cause, more interested in volunteering.

      I don't know how any intelligent person could read the numbers from the study and assume that it says an obese parent has a less-than one-in-three chance of having a kid without autism. In all serious, it drives me nuts when people completely hash up data from research studies.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:24 | Report abuse |
    • KF

      First off, obesity has not been an epidemic for hundreds or thousands of years; it is a recent problem. So no, midwives, etc, would not notice a correlation. Secondly, a few decades ago people would have just thought your kid was a moron and called it a day... they wouldn't have wasted time trying to figure out why your kid was stupid. If you want an answer to the rise of learning disabilities then go watch Idiocracy. It explains the phenomenon of the last few decades. Natural selection has died and the genetic disruption has begun. Its only going to get worse from here so you might as well get used to it.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:35 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      They were studying autistic children, so therefore they studied primarily children with autism, not children without it. It's like any other study: if you're studying, say, skin cancer, you don't recruit ten thousand people and see if any of them have skin cancer; you recruit people with skin cancer, and then look to see what they have in common.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:55 | Report abuse |
  12. Linmd

    Something is missing from this article... Of 1004 mother child pairs, there were 514 children with autism?!?! Doesn't that sound really high?? We're these at risk pregnancies to begin with (such as a sibling already diagnosed with autism)? The article is likely reading waaaay too much into this study. (As happens way too often in medical journalism...)

    April 9, 2012 at 07:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leo

      Good grief. This is what happens when people don't read with comprehension.

      This was not a "random sample" from the population. For studies like this, they call for VOLUNTEERS. They ask for parents of children with autism, and parents of normal/healthy children. Think about this carefully for a second – if you have a normal, healthy child, you're LESS likely to enroll your kid in the study! That's regardless of the mother's weight, or anything else. If your child has autism, you're more invested in the cause, more interested in volunteering.

      In all seriousness, it drives me nuts when people completely hash up data from research studies.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:26 | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      In any scientific study, you have a control group and an experimental group. In a case studying a disorder (such as autism), the control group will consist of pairs all with normal children and the experimental group will contain of pairs all with autistic children. Since both groups should be approximately the same size, the numbers are just what you'd expect to see (about half the total number of pairs should have autistic children).

      April 9, 2012 at 08:56 | Report abuse |
    • chameleoncal

      It's a case control study, very likely. As other people have mentioned above, it is going to have about 1/2 affected kids, and another 1/2 healthy kids in the study. Google "case control study" for explanation.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
  13. The Mama Yada

    I'm struggling with understanding the correlation between weight/diabetes/hypertension and autism as pointed out in this article. As I understand it, autism affects about 1 out of 80 children these days. If, as they say in the article, 1/3 of the women are obese, that means 33 out of 100, or 26 out of 80 (to match the autism denominator). So how are they singling out obesity as the key, when 25 other women with the same weight issue do not have autistic children? And if you use the 60% overweight number instead, that means 47 other overweight women have children who are not autistic, as compared to the 1 who does. I think there's something else at play with autism besides just weight/glucose/pressure of the mother.

    April 9, 2012 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • EJB

      You can't start with that original 1 out of 80 ratio you mention and then try to extrapolate from it – the researchers didn't do that. They examined records of the individuals within the study and used statistical procedures to look for correlations between the different variables.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:17 | Report abuse |
  14. whiteandnerdy

    Here is the paper, for anyone interested....

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2012/04/04/peds.2011-2583.abstract?sid=8d5abbb3-39d7-42c6-944d-3cc0c0e18238

    W&N

    April 9, 2012 at 08:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Kimberly

    Research autism rate among AMISH. (And if anyone would like to comment, I am concvinced the government has trolls working these websites to contradict what everyone else already knows!!!)

    What else is funny? How many of the 50 somethings have autism?? Not many! Not many vaccines either!

    If I was a parent of an autistic child I would be standing in the town square with a sign that read..."RESEARCH AUTISM RATES AMONG AMISH!!!" especially since I live an hour from them.

    April 9, 2012 at 08:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Seola

      Many Amish ordnungs don't recognize autism within their children. Another issue is that they don't see advanced doctors. (Some more progressive do, but by and large, they stick with their own doctors.) As for "how many 50 sometimes" – more and more each day, but we are topping out at the ages where we USED to stick them in insane asylums where they were given "experimental" therapies, such as lobotomies and extreme electro-shock. Which the damages will now mask anything we could classify them with. You will see many more as they grow up – but 50 years ago, cousin Tommy was locked away and likely died at the hands of most of these asylums.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:19 | Report abuse |
    • EJB

      Seriously, you sound paranoid. The government has people trolling these sites? How about the rest of us who are intelligent enough to read research summaries and understand what they say, instead of just holding onto emotional beliefs that have been repeatedly debunked? Vaccines do not cause autism. No one has ever been able to prove they do. The Amish lifestyle is so different from the average American lifestyle that it is difficult to make any comparisons – it's not just vaccinations.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:22 | Report abuse |
    • IxNay

      There are hundreds of differences between the way the Amish live, and the way we do. Besides, the Amish vaccinate their kids. For goodness sakes, stop flogging a dead horse.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:25 | Report abuse |
    • Crystal

      People over 50 have a low rate of DIAGNOSED autism, not a low rate of autism. They also didn't have disorders like dyslexia diagnosed correctly either, and no one is claiming that there's been an explosion of dyslexia, although the rates for children born in 2003 are much higher than the rates for kids born in 1953. There was NO disease called autism when they were kids, so issues were likely diagnosed as something else, and high functioning kids just slipped through the cracks (or were just considered socially inept).

      April 9, 2012 at 08:25 | Report abuse |
    • The Mama Yada

      Wish I was a government paid troll. I live very near the Amish, and they have a tremendous amount of mental disabilities in their group, but it is hidden because they are a proud, secretive people. While I think there is an environmental factor in autism, I do not think it is vaccines. 1 out of 80 children has autism. That means 79 out of those 80 children gets vaccinated with no problems whatsoever. What is it about that 1 child, compared to the 79, that he/she gets autism? There is some other factor at play. If 90 out of 100 children get autism after vaccinations, then I could say, ok, it's vaccines. But it's (only) 1 out of 80. Something else is at play. And I don't think it's the weight of the mother either.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:27 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Kimberly, let me ask you this: WHAT'S IN IT FOR THEM?

      Why does the government care whether or not kids have autism? The only way I can see in which they would care is that autistic children require more health-care resources, which means tax money. If they could reduce the incidence of autism, they could spend less on health care. Governments do care about money! So by your logic, if the government was involved here, they'd be promoting the most likely, not least likely, causes of autism because it's in their best interest (lowering healthcare spending) to do so.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:59 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      @Crystal: And I'm one of them.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:07 | Report abuse |
  16. lepke

    Was all the participant mother overweight or obese? It is not a surprise that the mother's health condition would effect on the health of her newborn. There are countries where overweight woman considered ideal, how is the autism rate in those countries?

    April 9, 2012 at 08:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. BJTomp

    I have an autistic grandson, two weeks after recieving his flu shot he had what we thought was a siezure. After a same day EEG, no seizure activity was noted or brain abnormalities, although his parents and I noticed that he never spoke the few words he had been speaking. He stopped making eye contact and our life austium began. I believe that most or all autium is enviromental and when I say that I do not beilive there is only one trigger. Thought 1 too many vaccinations, at such a young age. Newborns begin their schedule of vaccinations within a few hours of birth, they do not have a chance to develop an immune system. thought 2. ALL our food has been gentically altered not only processed foods , all seeds fruit meat. Our food is nutrionally lacking even when home grown. thought 3. We have such poor quality air and drinking water that we had chemicals to make our water more safe. there are enough cleaning chemicals in all our households as well as in the products we use each day on our bodies. Most americans need prozac or some other mood enhancer to get throuh life. Then factor in the social aspect that we no longer have neighborhoods we have daycare centers because all adults in the household need to work. Baby Boomers step up to the plate and take responsibility also, the crap we did in our teens during our hippie and free love stage of life also impacted our chromosones of future generations.

    April 9, 2012 at 08:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Crystal

      Your water is cleaner and safer by an order several hundred MAGNITUDES than most of the world. Try visiting a country that isn't the US some time and re-assess that. Anywhere in Southeast Asia that isn't Singapore, most of Africa and parts of South America would be a great place to start. Can you drink water that comes out of the tap? Is your bath water not full of feces? Then it's clean, and it's far cleaner than it's ever been before.

      I'm sorry your grandchild has autism. The cause is genetics, not something you can point a finger at.

      I understand the desire to point at something and say THAT caused autism. But the link between vaccines and autism has been disproved. Move on and stop wasting time on that.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:29 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      There's a book I strongly recommend you read - it's decades old, but still good: "The Good Old Days - They Were Terrible." It shoots a lot of holes in the myths of a past utopia.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:10 | Report abuse |
    • A scientist

      Two weeks after having his flu shot.... This is exactly the problem with the vaccines and autism theory. How many different things happened in those intervening two weeks? Did he ride in a car during those two weeks? Maybe car riding causes autism. Did he drink milk during those two weeks? Maybe too much milk causes autism. Did he watch TV? Maybe TV causes autism.

      Of course these arguments are absurd, because correlation does not equal causation, but the point is, there are countless things that your grandchild did in the weeks before his seizure. Why would you focus on a single event two weeks prior to the seizure, and claim that it was the cause (when any side-effects of a vaccine would likely have long since passed)? The only reason that you are focusing on the vaccine is because someone told you to focus on it.

      This is called confirmation bias. You have a theory, and then look for evidence to support the theory. This is the opposite of how science works. Scientist develop a theory, perform experiments, and then objectively look at the results. In other words, the data, not the theory, guide our interpretation. When the vaccines/autism idea was first proposed, it was a reasonable hypothesis. Vaccines are given around the time that autism is first observed, and some parents claimed symptoms developed shortly after vaccination. However, since then this issue has been extensively studied, and the evidence simply does not support the hypothesis. When the evidence does not support the hypothesis, it is time to find a new hypothesis.

      Constantly harping on vaccines is distracting research time and money away from finding the true cause.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
  18. Mike

    I just "Googled", "What causes autism". There are a myriad of answers ranging from diabetes, genetics, autoimmune, Amygdala neurons, Locus coeruleus–noradrenergic system, Lack of Vitamin D, and Excessive hygiene (really?). Personally, I know that doctors hand out harmful products, they always have. I have no doubt in my mind that vaccines cause autism. The medical profession is comprised of lying, drug addicted derelicts.

    April 9, 2012 at 08:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Guest

      I don't even know where to begin....

      How does one even begin to address someone who rejects everything that does not support what they feel?

      April 9, 2012 at 10:12 | Report abuse |
  19. KIm

    What are these people talking about. I was completely healthy with my oldest child and he is autistic. With my second child I was big time over weight and had high blood pressure and border line diabetic and she is extremely smart with no issues, so they need to rethink this I do not believe there is a link here at all.

    April 9, 2012 at 08:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Seola

      Are reading skills lax? It notes above that a high percentage of 67% – which is extreme correlation – not 100%. And there are millions of people who think they are "totally healthy" that turn out to have serious medical issues, high blood pressure, you mention all these ailments for your "fine" child – and you don't think there's anything with the propensity to BE obese that could have a card to play? And how far apart are the kids that you managed to be a perfect specimen of health, to go to someone who has problems of long term obesity? And that both are old enough to be 100% certain on diagnosis?

      April 9, 2012 at 08:46 | Report abuse |
    • Zak

      ANECDOTE + ANECDOTE = DATA!

      KIM WINS THE SCIENCE YAYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!

      April 9, 2012 at 15:02 | Report abuse |
  20. Anon

    I wonder if it's not genetically related to weight, but rather the effects being overweight has on the mom. Does an overweight mom has less energy and motivation to play and interact with her children? It would seem that low interaction with a caregiver/parent would also lead to poor communication/social skills.

    April 9, 2012 at 08:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lepke

      But then is that child really autistic or just antiisociall?

      April 9, 2012 at 08:29 | Report abuse |
  21. Kimberly

    I had to sign PAPERWORK when pregnant with my twins because I refused the BIRD FLU vaccine 3 years ago. **HOW RIDICULOUS** is that moms? Well, my twins are natural, 3 years old and HEALTHY as can be. I annually refuse the flu shot in my child too. Keep on vaccinating your kids and scratching your heads as to what causes autism.

    WAKE UP PEOPLE.

    So SICK OF BEING LIED TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 9, 2012 at 08:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bubba

      Wake up...there has been ONLY ONE STUDY EVER that shows a relationship between vaccines and autism...and it has been PROVEN to be FALSIFIED!!!! When will you leave it alone: VACCINES DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM!!!

      April 9, 2012 at 08:36 | Report abuse |
    • Seola

      I didn't have the flu shot and hadn't kept up with my vaccinations for tetanus and never had the flu shot. My twins developed Twin to Twin Transfusion requiring fetal surgery. They have had all their shots on time, including the flu shot and are perfectly healthy now. So it MUST be that the vaccines kept them healthy!!

      April 9, 2012 at 08:47 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      If you're sick of being lied to, then why are you pinning all your beliefs on a single study that was the result of deliberate fraud on the part of a doctor who was connected with a lawyer who was making big bucks using that "study" for support? A study that has been renounced by everyone associated with it (except for said profiteer) and refuted by every other study published?

      April 9, 2012 at 10:15 | Report abuse |
  22. Steve

    What an asinine claim.

    April 9, 2012 at 08:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Rachel

    I find this article ridiculous. I have a child with Asperger Syndrome and another who is gifted but learning disabled. I was never obese. In our case I believe there is a genetic component and environmental factors, as there are cousins and an aunt of my husbands who have ADHD and learning disabilities. This article reminds me of the old medical belief that mothers caused autism because they didn't show enough affection to their babies (refrigerator moms).

    April 9, 2012 at 08:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bubba

      The article is not saying that if you are obsese and/or have diabetes, that you WILL have autistic children. It is saying, based on historical FACTS, if you are obese and/or have diabetes – the chance are higher that you'll have an autistic child.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:39 | Report abuse |
    • Mim

      I know isn't this hysterical – Mommy did it – once again takes all responsibility away from the Doctors. I also am a tiny woman still only 130 lbs. – my sons full grown both Autistic have zero blood sugar problems – it just amazes me that the medical community keeps coming up with these ridiculous reasons for our childrens developmental problems.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:19 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Please look into the difference between "risk factor" and "cause."

      April 9, 2012 at 10:16 | Report abuse |
  24. Lynnie

    Can you honestly look at all of the pollution and chemicals we are all exposed to every day and STILL be surprised by these autism stats? Even pesticides that have been banned could be to blame because they could have affected the eggs of female fetuses back when THEIR mothers were exposed to them. Just look at the problems they are having with the kids being born in Vietnam to mothers who were exposed to agent orange.

    April 9, 2012 at 08:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Bubba

    People...there has been ONLY ONE STUDY that shows a relationship between vaccines and autism...and it has been proven to be FALSIFIED!!!! When will you leave it alone: VACCINES DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM!!!

    April 9, 2012 at 08:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lepke

      There always be people who ignore the facts and refuse to learn.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:35 | Report abuse |
  26. Kimberly

    Why do so many countries BAN BPA's in plastics but not the U.S.???

    You need to stop listening to BRIAN WILLIMAS on the nightly news and read about naturalnews.com for the TRUTH.

    Isn't this country SICK OF BEING LIED TO YET????????????????????????

    April 9, 2012 at 08:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lepke

      Children are being vaccinated nearly around the clock between they born and 2. And that is when most autistic kids are diagnosed. It might be just a coincidence. We could make a connection between autism and watching TV at early age, or listening to loud music or being a child in neurotic family.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:43 | Report abuse |
  27. Rebecca

    Vaccines do not cause autism. There is no scientific link proving it. There have been many studies that actually disprove it.

    All this article is saying is that being obese increases your risk. That's all. It's NOT saying it causes autism. Why do so many people read into articles in such a way. There are always factors that increase health risks in anything we do. This is just another one to take into account. It's not false or wrong. People always want one thing to blame, instead of looking at the big picture.

    April 9, 2012 at 08:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • earthshoes44

      Rebecca–While I do not link my son's autism to vaccinations (there were other factors in his case–in particular oxygen deprivation at birth), most parents suspected a link between autism and vaccinations long before the study came out. Most of us who believe there is a connection have seen it first hand in otherwise normal, healthy toddlers making abrupt personality changes within days of vaccinations (usually the MMR). Government's dirty little secret is the number of times it's had to pay out of its large vaccination injury fund (this is public information by the way–not something conspiracy theorists have cooked up) and at least one of those large pay outs was a child who's autism was unquestionably caused by vaccinations.

      I'm not suggesting that people stop vaccinating–not even close. I am suggesting that you arm yourself with information and make an informed decision. I chose to vaccinate on a sensible modified schedule.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:17 | Report abuse |
    • earthshoes44

      And while I'm thinking about it–In the long run I think the government and those who've studied autism are going to determine that there is no one cause or risk factor for autism, but multiple reasons. I think we're going to find that genetics play a big role in it, prenatal risks as well as high risk births, and, yes, sometimes vaccinations in children who are sensitive to specific components (such as aluminum, thimerosal, etc). But I don't think we're ever going to be able to point at any one cause and say, "That's it–that's the only reason for autism." Everyone–doctors and scientists included need to stop pointing fingers and start focusing on how a) to prevent it when it is preventable and b)develop prenatal tests that will pinpoint those at risk so that parents and doctors can plan accordingly and the child's future potential is maximized.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:31 | Report abuse |
  28. Kimberly

    GOOD LUCK PEOPLE. Especially ones with autism children. One day you'll wake up.

    April 9, 2012 at 08:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Guest22

    I'm not saying I agree or disagree with this, but doesn't anyone think that they reason autism numbers are increasing is because we now have so much more information about it and are able to diagnose it better?

    April 9, 2012 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. O2

    One question:

    If this is the case, then why, in generations past, did overweight mothers not produce children with autism?

    Go back 30 years or so and we still had overweight moms, but no autism prevalance. Why is that?

    April 9, 2012 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kimberly

      EXACTLY 02! Because we're being LIED to. I can not believe people continue to BELIEVE this *crap*.

      April 9, 2012 at 08:56 | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      1. 30 years ago there was LESS obesity than today.

      2. 30 years ago, there was less reporting of autism – because fewer doctors could recognize autism, and fewer parents admitted that their children had autism (if they even knew that they had it).

      THERE HAS ONLY BEEN ONE STUDY – EVER – THAT SHOWED – ANY – CORRELATION BETWEEN VACCINES AND AUTISM...AND IT HAS BEEN EMPHATICALLY AND ABSOLUTELY PROVEN TO BE FALSIFIED! And the main reason that it was ultimately found out to be falsified is because scientist after scientist after scientist tried to replicate the results AND COULD NOT DO IT!

      Why is it easier to believe that it wasn't falsified and everyone is lying about it being falsified...than it is to believe that is was simply falsified? Scientists all over the world have tried to replicate his study, but no one has been able to come up with results ANYTHING like his. How and why would there be a world-wide plot to lie about this? What would be the reason, what would be to anyone's advantage? Plenty of things that we once thought to be harmless have been proven to be harmful, and yet there was no world wide plot to suppress that information (e.g : hundreds if not thousands of drugs have been found to be harmful and taken off the market).

      The smartest and most respected scientists on this planet are telling us that there is no relationship between autism and vaccines...there is no proof whatsoever that there is in any way, form or fashion! How are all these people who say the government is lying about it smarter than the doctors and scientists? They're not!

      April 9, 2012 at 09:14 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      We had autism 30 years ago.

      We had autism 50 years ago.

      There are more overweight people today, and there are more people diagnosed with autism today. It doesn't really seem all that surprising, when you think about it.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:20 | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      The reason why obese mothers 30 yrs ago did not have autism- could be that at that time, there was no public awareness of autism symptoms, and it is maybe possible their children may have had s ymptoms of autism that they just completely overlooked and just had to deal with the after effects later on. Sort of like how Bipolar is diagnosed so often now– but never a few decades back. Medical field always tries to be retroactive on everything and scare everybody. With genetics-- all any of can do is do our best to live healthy ourselves and hope and pray for the rest .

      April 9, 2012 at 10:43 | Report abuse |
  31. i_know_everything

    that is why I don't do fatties

    April 9, 2012 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Mim

    This is hysterical – so silly I find it amazing that CNN would use it!!!! I am a mother of2 in the Autism Spectrum. The first with Aspergers 28 years old – had an adverse reaction to his 18 month immunizations – could not sit up 4 48 hours – doctors said we had to just wait – after this the neurological damage was done – as he walked u could see muscles jumping under his legs – physically he was delayed – could not ride a tryke until he was 5 – but the always brilliant child would show all the social signs when he came of school age. My second child a girl did not have Autism. My third child also a boy was lovely and engaging until his 18 month immunizations. Because he had so many ear infections he was behind on his immunizations so at this point the Doctor doubled up what he had that day. Within 2 weeks he was silent – no longer speaking or making any sound – no longer reacting to any sound or movement. They checked him to make sure he was deaf – He was not. For the next 15 years we did every kind of available therapy -Secretin trials – GF/CF/SF diet – yeast treatment – autoimmune treatments and our boy came back to us and attended special needs classes at school – then this year he developed Psychosis – which is common in Autistic boys in their late teens. It has been a long bumpy ride. We have no savings – no retirement and a son that needs constant medical care. My weight was healthy in both pregnancies. I think once again the medical profession wants to blame the mother – that way they don't have to take responsibility for what they have done and God forbid they should be held accountable and have to give me back my retirement and family savings and pay for my sons care – they will make up every other cause so they do not have to take responsibility for what they have done to our precious children

    April 9, 2012 at 09:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. TiredOfIgnorance

    "... his mother is completely fine for weight – not overweight in the slightest, and he has a form. Try again, guessors!"

    Try reading the article again "...mothers-to-be who were obese were 67% more likely to have a child with autism as opposed to normal-weight mothers "

    What does the term "More Likely" mean to you?

    April 9, 2012 at 09:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. WhatNow

    Gosh, so many comments about blaming the mother or the parents or other factors. Well, sadly individual choices do cause problems for your offspring and yourself. No one is saying that weight is the only cause, but it may well be a factor. Maybe it is time to leave behind the "it couldn't possibly be me or my choices" concept in an effort to alleviate many of the problems in our society.

    April 9, 2012 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Kimberly

    It's obvious BUBBA works for the government and his brother works for MERCK and his sister works for PFIZER. DO NOT LISTEN TO PEOPLE LIKE THIS.

    WAKE UP SHEEPLE.

    April 9, 2012 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bubba

      Please point one even ONE study that shows any correlation between autism and vaccinations...you can't do it, because no one has found one.

      YOU are the one doing everyone the GRAVE disservice! Diseases that can be prevented by vaccines killed millions of people before vaccines were developed. Even just a century ago, in the early 20th century, there were horrible plagues that killed 10's and 100's of thousands of people in short periods of time. You've probably never heard of small pox – a disease that used to kill thousands of people; or polio – a diease that just 60 years ago used to cripple and kill people by the thousands in the US, and more thousands around the globe.

      People who ignore the fact that vaccines are fantastic tools that save millions of lives, but instead believe in ridiculous conspiracy theories...who refuse to believe the smartest people on the planets...who refuse to believe in science, except where it fits into what they choose to believe it...YOU PEOPLE are causing so much more harm than you know with your ignorance! I hope you can live with the disease and deaths caused when others stupidly believe your lame, emotionally based arguments – and fail to have their children vaccinated!

      I don't believe that autism is any more prevalent today than it was 100 years ago, or 200 years ago. Autism as a diagnosis did not exist until 1980 (that's right – look it up – I said 1980!!). Prior to that, people with autism were just thought to be retarded, or to just be generally mentally ill.

      Please wake up and stop spreading the malicious, unfounded nonsense that has NO BASIS IN REALITY!!

      April 9, 2012 at 09:43 | Report abuse |
    • WhatNow

      Your response is much more "sheeple" as you say. You ignore scientific studies, base your opinions on unproven information and then guess where people work based on their response to an article. Sorry, but that sounds like you've been listening to everyone but the experts. People like you are just scary. You ignore relevant data and then try to turn people to your uneducated view. Sorry, but Bubba makes a good point.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:46 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      And who do I work for?

      I'll tell you: I work for myself. I'm a freelance website designer. I have no connection with any pharmaceutical company, government, etc. (though I did once build a website for a psychologist). I don't have a financial stake in this, nor own stock in any company that does.

      Now, you were saying....?

      April 9, 2012 at 10:27 | Report abuse |
  36. Gerald

    The facts are clear, autism does not happen in other countries that do not use thermisil to preserve their vaccines. Keep in mind that these vaccines contain over 187 times the daily limit of mercury exposure and every ones metabolism is different.

    April 9, 2012 at 09:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mim

      Gerald – thank you so much for speaking TRUTH rather than just an opinion which far to many people have on this page!!!!

      April 9, 2012 at 09:21 | Report abuse |
    • PumpNDump

      You have no idea what you're talking about. Another luddite nutjob.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:40 | Report abuse |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      Thermisol hasn't been used in vaccines since the 90s, and the only study that linked it to autism was proven to be rigged by the lead doctor on the study.

      Try again, please.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:00 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Autism happens in countries that do not use thimerosal to preserve vaccines. The US, for instance.

      It was removed shortly after being identified as a possible risk factor in 1999. The autism rate has continued to climb.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:31 | Report abuse |
    • chameleoncal

      No. Thimerosal is a form of mercury that used to be used in vaccines in the US, in small amounts, as a preservative. It is different than the type of mercury that is known to be toxic to humans. Still, due to consumers' worry about thimerosal, it was taken out of all vaccines in the U.S. years ago, but the autism rate still kept going up.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
  37. Denise

    Wait a minute... most of the mother/children that participated in this study were in NC with a small amount in CA, that is NOT enough of a controlled group to truly suggest that this is a link to anything. Then they compare obesity with autism to mothers with hypertension and/or diabetes to children with delays. Again, this is not a very good controlled study. It would be like me saying that the water in NC may be causing autism and delays as well as obesity in adult women.

    PS to those that did the study... I am Caucasian with high likelihood to have coronary artery disease as I have been since testing abnormally high with cholesterol 20 years ago (it was well over 300 and still have this problem today, goes between about 220 to I should drop dead), along with family history. I was close borderline underweight with my oldest, I developed gestational diabetes. My oldest is fine. I was normal weight with my second (only because my kids are 18 months apart), no diabetes or any problems, he is communication delayed. So... I just went off your little controlled group!

    April 9, 2012 at 09:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Guest

    My mama is 215.823520983 lbs.

    April 9, 2012 at 09:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Joe

    has any one checked to see if birth control has anyting to do with autism? with the increase in the usage of hormonal birth control there is an increase in the number of cases.

    April 9, 2012 at 09:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. PumpNDump

    This should be no surprise to anyone since obesity is the #1 healthcare issue we face. Nothing is more disgusting and offensive than some corpulent woman who washes with a rag on a stick and has convinced herself she is "hot" or "attractive". The delusional is palpable, and funny. Lol

    April 9, 2012 at 09:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Mary

    Let's lay the blame for autism where it belongs – at the feet of Chinese manufacturers who use toxic chemicals and filthy, polluted water in their manufacturing processes and then send the poison over here in their products. We never had this problem until we started relying on Asia to supply our needs.

    April 9, 2012 at 09:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • iamdeadlyserious

      Funny. I thought that we didn't have any cases of autism until we actually created the term to describe what people would have previously labeled "slow" or "funny in the head".

      April 9, 2012 at 09:58 | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      Hopefully a non-biased group of research Doctors will eventually figure out what is causing autism...until then, everything including the kitchen sink will be to blame!

      April 9, 2012 at 10:05 | Report abuse |
  42. Jennifer

    I am the mother of an autistic child, and like so many others I'm struggling to find answers. I am not a scientist, and can only attest to my own family and situation, but I tend to doubt a genetic link. There is NO history of autism in my family or my husband's family. I am wondering if there has been any studies regarding the use of pesticides, preservatives, genetically modified foodstuffs, and a potential link to autism? Does anyone know? I am not making any claims, but I'm trying to exhaust the possibilities.
    In the end, we may never know definitively what the cause of autism is. All that I do know for certain is that we will continue to search for answers, and to help our child to be the best that he can be.

    April 9, 2012 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • iamdeadlyserious

      A genetic cause wouldn't necessarily show itself in your family tree (especially because such a tree isn't exhaustive, nor has the term "autism" been around long enough for you to know whether you have a family history of it). A family can carry a set of recessive genes for generations without ever having the right set of recessive genes introduced into the family to cause a specific condition.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:57 | Report abuse |
    • A scientist

      We are looking into all possible causes, including the ones you mention. It is likely that there is no single cause of autism, but instead many factors that can interplay to cause it. Brain development is so complex and there are so many places it can go wrong, so it is likely that any number of causes can lead to autism.

      As for genetics, lack of a family history does not mean that it is not genetic. First, every time your genome is copied, mistakes are made. Most of these are harmless, but some cause problems. Therefore, it is possible that your child has a "new mutation" (a mutation that neither parent carries) that cause autism. Second, for a complex disease where many genes interplay to cause/prevent it, it is common for children to have a disease that neither parent has. For example, if two specific mutations can combine to cause autism, it is possible that each parent carries one. In this case, neither parent would have a family history, but when the two parents get together, they can pass on the pathogenic combination.

      In short, all possible areas are being explored (environmental, genetic, etc). The challenge is that autism likely has multiple causes, and studying humans - and particularly environmental effects in humans - is extremely difficult. Unlike something like lab mice, it is impossible with humans to completely control their environment to do ideal double-blind studies, so separating a single environmental variable is very tough. We are slowly making progress, but the public must realize that answers may not come as quickly as everyone would like.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:38 | Report abuse |
  43. GeorgeBos95

    Another half-baked study. It doesn't define a causal relationship, anymore than saying being fat is a side effect of shopping at WalMart.

    April 9, 2012 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Jennifer

    So, according to this research, 2 of my 3 children should have autism...but they're normal! Funny, all the women I know who have children with autism are actually skinny...none of them are overweight! Ironically, they were all on birth control for several years...maybe they need to do some research on that...but they probably won't! I never used birth control until after I had my 2nd and when we decided to go for #3...and then I ended up having a horrible pregnancy with an 8 week early delivery. I don't blame the birth control for that but it is interesting.

    I think there are a lot of factors that play into the increase in autism. First of all, the diagnoses is easier to figure out. Rather than a child just being socially awkward or considered "weird" there is now a label for these kids on the spectrum...and a wide spectrum it is. Also, things like birth control could very well be a factor since so many women take it now. All those chemicals in our bodies for years are sure to have some sort of effect. Autism causing? Not sure. But, it seems the pills we take to resolve one ailment in turn cause another.

    Hopefully they will figure out what it is that causes autism.

    On a side note, the majority of the research was done in Northern California which is notoriously known for it's high volume of drug use! Hmmm...possibly another cause? Just sayin'!

    April 9, 2012 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Guest

      No.

      There is nothing that says 2 of your 3 children should have autism.

      It says that if your risk for an autistic child was otherwise, let's say, 1 in 1000, if you were obese when pregnant, your risk was increased to 1.67 in 1000. That's a 67% higher risk, not a risk of 67%.

      Look at it another way: let's say that talking on a cell phone increases your chance of having a traffic accident by 50%. That does not mean that 50% of people who try to drive with cell phones stuffed in their faces will crash (even though it feels like it when we're dodging them); it means that their chances of having a crash are half again higher than whatever they were before. If they had a 10% chance of a crash, it's 15% if they're on that phone. But it's not 50%. That's not what the numbers mean.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:38 | Report abuse |
  45. iamdeadlyserious

    It's simply amazing to me how many people dub themselves medical "experts" because they read something on a website.

    Leave medicine to the people who went to medical school, people.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Sheena

    I have a son who is almost two. I was obese when I was pregnant with him. He does not have autism or any other disorder nor is he developmentally challanged. He is where any baby should be at his age. I think this study is just society trying to tackle the obesity in our country. If I read this before I had my son it would have scared me into losing that weight. What about Jenny McCarthy? She was healthy and still had a baby with autism. I personally think we will never know what causes it.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PumpNDump

      Personally, it's obvious that a high school dropout, an idito, corpulently obese and in serious denial. Please don't comment on issues you're clueless about.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:13 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      I used to know a guy who drove drunk. He was never involved in a traffic accident. I know people who have been in auto accidents where neither they nor the driver of the other car was under the influence of alcohol (or any other drug). Does this mean alcohol isn't a risk factor for car crashes?

      A risk factors is not the same thing as 100% correspondence. You're more likely to get into a traffic accident if you're drunk, but some people who are, don't, and some people who aren't, do.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:45 | Report abuse |
  47. Martha L Gay

    This study does not say that obesity causes autism, but rather that there is a correlation. There may be common factors which, along with a genetic predisposition, produce autism. This study points at diet, as does the low incidence of autism among the Amish. That community uses less manufactured food.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cinttiz

      What an awesome prize. My son is auitsitc and was originally diagnosed as severe with no language whatsoever. He did ABA for five years, it saved his life and ours. He is now a walking, talking, healthy, happy, non frustrated teenager who is ready to take on life! He is passed his ABA days but still goes to a school for children with autism so I will pass this along!If I were to win it would get passed on to New Heights Learning Services. They would get SO much use out of it! Thank you and the company for the opportunity!

      December 19, 2012 at 02:59 | Report abuse |
  48. Bubba

    Here's what the people who persist in believing that autism is caused by vaccinations ignore: when the one and only study that found a correlation was published, the scientific community world-wide was genuinely surprised. No one had ever done the same study before and were frankly surprised at the results. So immediately, lots of other scientists world-wide decided to do their own studies, in order to replicate his results. This is extremely common practice – the results of any one study is never really considered factual until others are able to replicate the results (to replicate means to run the same study and get the same results). The funny thing was – NO ONE could replicate it...they tried running the same study that the original guy had run, but none of them got the same results as he did. So finally, someone asked the question – how did he get the results he got, when scientists all over the world are not getting them? That's when people started really looking at his study and researching how exactly he went about it...and that's when they discovered he had falsified it for his own reasons.

    So, really, all you conspiracy theorists – there's your conspiracy (the scientist who falsified his results for his own purposes)...and unlike most conspiracy theories – this one was actually proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. I guess that's the problem – since he was proven to have falsified his results, it could no longer be a (conspiracy) theory that he had falsified it (it was a fact). SO – the conspiracy theorists had nothing to work with on that side of the coin, so they jumped to the other side – that he had NOT falsified it, but the rest of the world was in a conspiracy to make it LOOK like he had falsified it.

    Please, if you value the lives of others – research this subject carefully and learn the facts. Stop spreading lies that are costing children's lives!

    April 9, 2012 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Bill

    I DON'T BELIEVE THEY ARE CORRECT IN THEIR ANALYSIS, BUT THEY ARE CLOSE. I BELIEVE IT IS RELATED TO WHAT THEY WERE CONSUMING AND EXPOSED TO BEFORE AND DURING BIRTH PROCESS AND AFTERWARDS WHEN BREAST FEEDING THEIR CHILDREN. wHAT WERE THEY EATING AND DRINKING? wHAT CHEMICALS AND ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS WERE THEY EXPOSED TO? WAS OXYGEN CUT OFF TO THE UNBORN FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME?

    I HAVE MULTIPLE AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES THAT WAS DIAGNOSED 5 YEARS AGO AFTER A SERIOUS NEUROMUSCULAR AND SKIN DISEASE ATTACKED ME. THE SYMPTOMS SHOWED UP FIFTEEN YEARS PRIOR AFTER BEING DIAGNOSED WITH MONONUCLEOSIS AND EBSTEIN BARR VIRUS AND CHRONIC FATIQUE SYMPTOMS WITH JOINT, MUSCULAR, SKIN, AND GLANDULAR INFLAMATION. SINCE THEN VARIOUS INOCULATIONS, MEDICATIONS, UVA/UVB, AND STRESS HAD CAUSED THESE DISEASES TO FLARE TO DANGEROUS AND FATAL LEVELS. I HAVE NOT HAD A REMISSION IN 5 YEARS. WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH AUTISM? MAYBE NOTHING, MAYBE EVERYTHING. OVERWEIGHT PEOPLE GET AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES AND THEY ATTACK WOMEN MORE THEN MEN, BUT I AM A MAN AND I SEEM TO BE ONE OF THE MORE DIFFICULT CASES. I AM OVERWEIGHT, DID OVEREATING AND LACK OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY CAUSE MY DISEASES OR WAS IT THE OTHER WAY AROUND AND BEING OVERWEIGHT IN THE PAST 15-20 YEARS WAS A RESULT OF THE PROGRESSIVE DISEASES THAT TODAY AFFECTS MY ORGANS, MUSCLES, AND SKIN. AUTISM HAS ONLY LATELY GAINED SO MUCH VISIBILITY, IS THIS A NEW DISEASE. NO, IT HAS ONLY RECEIVED ITS NAME IN THE LAST DECADE OR TWO, BUT FOLKS HAD THIS GOING WAY BACK THROUGH THE CENTURIES AND WAS CALLED SOMETHING ELSE LIKE A SLANG NAME I WILL NOT MENTION HERE SINCE WE ARE MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE TODAY AND RECOGNIZE THESE ARE DISEASES THAT CAN HANDICAP FOLKS AT VARIOUS LEVELS.

    I THINK WE NEED TO BE MORE CONCERNED WITH TOXICITY THEN NATURAL FOOD ELEMENTS BEING CONSUMED. HOW ABOUT ALCOHOL, TOBACCO SMOKE, ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS, CHLORINATED WATER, PEST SPRAYS, PAINT AND THINNER FUMES, CARBON MONOXIDE, FROM EXHAUST SYSTEM LEAKS, UNNATURAL FOODS, CHEMICALS EXPOSED TO AT WORK, FLU VACINES, ETC... ETC...

    April 9, 2012 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. CJ

    Don't draw conclusions from a single study with a relatively small sample size. This finding will need to be verified repeatedly through further studies before anyone can say anything conclusive. Also, keep in mind that this is just one risk factor out of MANY–plenty of apparently healthy women have autistic children, and plenty of obese women have healthy children.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.