Monday, March 5, 2012

Some Migrant Children At Heightened Risk of Autism

In a large population-based study conducted in Sweden and published February 23 in the British Journal of Psychiatry, researchers report that the children of migrant parents were at an increased risk of autism. Moreover, the risk peaked when migration occurred in the year before birth, and it was especially prevalent in the children of migrants from Africa, Latin America, or the Caribbean.

The researchers thus suspect that there is something about migration from such areas of the world that might harm developing fetuses and predispose them to autism—for example, a deficiency in maternal vitamin D, poor maternal nutrition, exposure to infections in utero, or the stress for pregnant migrant women of being asylum seekers.

Other new information about autism—that screening for autism among children as young as age 1 is now feasible and useful, as well as that an SSRI antidepressant offers a glimmer of treatment hope for adults with autism—can be found in recent issues of Psychiatric News, here and here.

Information about autism can also be found in an American Psychiatric Publishing brochure Let's Talk Facts About Autism Spectrum Disorders here.

(Image: pio3/


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