A new study found no increased risk of autism associated with mothers eating large amounts of mercury-contaminated fish during pregnancy. The researchers tracked the development of children born to Seychelles Islanders, who tend to eat relatively large amounts mercury-contaminated fish. They looked for any link between autism behaviors in the children and mercury levels in the mothers. They found none.
We know that environmental factors – including exposure to certain toxic substances during pregnancy – can increase the risk of autism. (See “What do scientists mean when they talk about ‘environmental factors’ that cause autism?”)
Large study links autism and prenatal use of anti-epileptic drug; alternative medicines possible for some but not all women
Researchers have found more evidence that inflammation during early pregnancy increases autism risk. The new study found high autism rates among children born to mothers with elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). High CRP is an established marker of body-wide inflammation.
The Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers invites the public to join a free webinar on autism risk and environmental exposures on Wednesday, August 8, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Register here.