Studies find children born at unusual interpregnancy intervals likely to develop autism

New York, NY – A study conducted by a group of researchers from Columbia University has found that children who are born at either too short or too long interpregnancy intervals are likely to develop autism. The research was based on records of more than 7,000 children born from 1987 to 2005 in Finland, where one-third had been diagnosed with autism.

The study, which was published on the Journal of the American Academy of child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that mothers who conceive again from within 12 months of their last pregnancy are 150 percent more likely to give birth to children who are in risk of developing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) than those who conceive within two to five years from their last pregnancy.

The research also found that children who are born more than five years from the time of their mothers’ last pregnancy are 30 percent likely to develop autism, while the risk is increased to 40 percent after a 10-year interpregnancy interval.

Although the similarities in the conditions to which the children with autism were born are highly significant, researchers say that it is still unclear if the risks can be directly associated with the interpregnancy gaps. Dr. Alan Brown, one of the researchers from Columbia University, told:

“This study provides further evidence that environmental factors occurring during or near the prenatal period play a role in autism, a serious and disabling condition that afflicts millions of individuals and that is increasing in prevalence.”

The original article by Sarah Knapton on The Telegraph website can be read here