New research claims that the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy is linked to an increased risk that your child has ADHD or autism.
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health examined umbilical cord blood samples and found a higher risk of both conditions in which the drug was present.
They even say that children exposed to the drug, also known as the Tylenol or paracetamol brand in Europe, had twice as much chance of developing developmental disorder – or a combination of both – in utero than having none
Our attempt to understand the cause of autism led the 1994 – now invalidated – study that linked autism to the MMR vaccine and led to the anti-vaxxer movement.
Experts now say that this study – linking autism to a commonly used drug – has different limitations and that there is no clear evidence that the disorders are not the result of a family history, genetics or other environmental factors.
A new study by Johns Hopkins University claims that women who use paracetamol for pain relief during pregnancy can double the risk that their children have developmental disorders (file image)
ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and children have difficulty paying attention, sitting still, and exercising self-control.
Symptoms usually start in childhood and can continue into adolescence and into adulthood.
It affects about 10 percent of children under the age of 18 in the US and is more common in boys than in girls.
There is no cure, so treatment currently consists of moderating symptoms through medication, therapy, training or a combination.
Meanwhile, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder in which patients have difficulty communicating and with behavior.
It includes various conditions – including autism, Asperger's syndrome and other conditions with language delays and motor skills – and symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Children are usually diagnosed at the age of two after showing signs such as reduced eye contact, not responding to their name, and performing repetitive movements.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in 59 children has ASD.
Previous research has suggested a possible link between mothers taking paracetamol during pregnancy and an increased risk of children with ADHD and ASD.
However, these studies have relied on women who report their use of the drug themselves.
For the new study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, the team looked at nearly 1,000 mother-child pairs from the Boston Birth Cohort between 1998 and 2018.
Researchers analyzed whether the mother's umbilical cord blood had acetaminophen biomarkers.
They then looked at children who were diagnosed with ADHD, ASD, both or no conditions.
The results showed that nearly 26 percent of the children had ADHD alone, about 6.5 percent had ASD alone, four percent had both ADHD and ASD and 30.5 percent had other developmental disorders.
Only about 33 percent were described as & # 39; neurotypic & # 39 ;, meaning that they had typical developmental, intellectual, and cognitive skills for children their age.
This means that children were almost twice as likely to develop developmental as theirs than none.
However, the study has several limitations, including that there is no indication as to whether or not mothers have taken the medication during the hours before delivery, which may explain its presence.
Moreover, there is no way to tell how long a fetus has been exposed to paracetamol.
& # 39; More than 50 percent of all pregnant women need some form of pain relief during pregnancy & # 39 ;, says Dr. Gino Pecoraro, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Queensland in Australia.
More than 65 percent of women in the US and 50 percent in Europe have used paracetamol during pregnancy to treat pain or fever.
& # 39; There are no clear indications from this study that taking paracetamol causes problems & # 39 ;, Dr. Pecoraro continued.
# Until there is clear evidence of damage, we should not deny pregnant women effective analgesia nor instruct them to take other forms of pain relief that may have their own recognized problems
Dr. Andrew Shennan, professor of obstetrics at King's College London, added: “Paracetamol is a recommended drug for use during pregnancy and will be used extensively.
& # 39; This type of uncontrolled study does not imply that paracetamol use causes autism because the reason for using paracetamol is the cause rather than the drug itself, and a mechanism for causing damage is not clear. & # 39;
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