Pregnant women who don't get enough sunshine are more likely to have children with dyslexia, autism or ADHD, a large study suggests.
Researchers found that 21 percent of children who were conceived during the winter months of February, March and April had a learning disability.
For comparison, the figure was only 16.5 percent for young people conceived in June and July.
The findings come from a large study with NASA satellite data and data from more than 400,000 young people in Scotland.
Experts believe that a lack of sunlight during pregnancy, which means that lower levels of vitamin D, can be to blame.
Researchers found that 21 percent of children who were conceived during the winter months of February, March and April had a learning disability. For comparison, the figure was only 16.5 percent for young people conceived in June and July
Professor Jill Pell, professor at the University of Glasgow, lead author of the study, said: “Learning disabilities can have lifelong consequences for the affected child and their family.
& # 39; The importance of our study is that it suggests a possible way to prevent learning difficulties in some children.
& # 39; Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are already advised to take vitamin D supplements because it is important for the development of the baby's brain. & # 39;
Professor Pell added: & # 39; Clinical trials are needed to confirm whether taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy can reduce the risk. & # 39;
The researchers found 20 percent of babies born in January and May and 19 percent of babies born in December had learning difficulties.
This was higher than the Scottish average of 18.8 percent, according to the results published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Experts believe that a lack of sunlight during pregnancy, which means that lower levels of vitamin D, can be to blame
THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF AUTISM
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with autism have problems with social, emotional and communication skills that usually develop before the age of three and the last in a person's life.
Specific signs of autism are:
- Responses to odor, taste, appearance, feeling or sound are unusual
- Difficulties to adapt to changes in the routine
- Unable to repeat or repeat what is being said to them
- Difficulties in expressing desires with words or movements
- Unable to discuss their own feelings or those of others
- Difficulties with acts of affection such as hugging
- Prefer to be alone and avoid eye contact
- Difficulties with regard to other people
- Unable to point at objects or look at objects when others point to them
Bulkheads obtain the majority of their vitamin D from exposure to sunlight from about April to September, usually between 11 AM and 3 PM.
But the level of ultraviolet B (UVB) rays that reach the earth can also be affected by weather such as clouds.
This means that many bulkheads are unlikely to receive enough vitamin D from sunlight.
All Scots are advised by the NHS to take a daily vitamin D supplement, especially during the winter months.
Those with a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency are advised to take vitamin D supplements all year round. Vitamin is also added to some foods.
They include all babies and children from birth to four years, except those who are fully fed and pregnant and breastfeeding women.
The Department of Health and Social Care advises women in the UK to consider taking a vitamin D supplement during pregnancy.
Previous studies have already shown that the prevalence of autism is higher in populations farther from the equator than those closest to them.
The new study adds more weight to the theory that sunlight and vitamin D play a role, as well as other factors, such as family history, in the development of intellectual disabilities. Vitamin D is considered crucial for the development of a baby, which means that low levels in early pregnancy can affect their brains.
The results show a & # 39; statistically significant & # 39; relationship between a lower exposure to UVB during the entire pregnancy and the risk of learning disabilities.
The academics also found a slightly stronger relationship with low UVB exposure in the first trimester, suggesting that early pregnancy is possibly the most vulnerable to the effects of insufficient UVB.
A Scottish government spokesperson said: "Everyone should consider taking a vitamin D supplement every day, especially pregnant and breastfeeding women."
Dr. Claire Hastie, who performed the analysis, said: “We really hope the study does not worry about pregnant women.
& # 39; We hope this is just useful information so that people know it is a good idea to get supplements, especially in countries with high latitudes such as Scotland. & # 39;
The Times reports that Dr. Hastie has added: & # 39; The risk is still small for your child who has special educational needs. & # 39;
WHO SHOULD USE VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTS?
The Ministry of Health recommends that certain groups of people take vitamin D supplements daily to ensure that they get enough:
- all babies & # 39; s from birth to one year old (including babies & # 39; s who are breastfed and babies & # 39; s who are bottle-fed and have less than 500 ml of baby food per day)
- all children from one to four years old
- people who are not often exposed to the sun (for example, people who are vulnerable or house-bound, or who are in an institution such as a nursing home, or if they usually wear clothing that covers most of their skin when outside)
For the rest of the population, anyone over the age of five (including pregnant and breast-feeding women) is advised to take a daily supplement that contains 10 micrograms (μg) of vitamin D.
But the majority of people aged five and older probably get enough vitamin D from sunlight in the summer (late March / early April to late September).
Source: NHS Choices
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