A New Study conducted as part of Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBA) has found that mothers who took folic acid supplements for 4 weeks before becoming pregnant until 8 weeks after pregnancy, had a reduced incident of Autism by 40%.
The study only shows an association between the use of folic acid supplements and a mothers’ risk of autistic disorder. It does not establish a cause-effect link.
This is great news for prevention of Autism which has had limited definitive information on the causation and prevention of this disability. It is a major break-through that could help reverse the increasing trend of children born with this disability.
Researchers followed 85,176 babies born between 2002 and 2008 for three to 10 years to determine whether their mother’s use of folic acid supplements had any influence on their children developing an autism disorder.
Research was focused on women who had taken folic acid supplements for 4 weeks before they became pregnant until 8 weeks after the inset of their pregnancy. The children in the study aged from 3.3 to 10.2 years old with an end follow-up in March, 2012.
A B-vitamin, Folic acid is needed for DNA synthesis and repair and helps prevent neural tube defects. Folic acid rich foods include: green leafy vegetables, beans, lentils, yeast, liver and peas. In the U.S., Folic acid is added to most of our cereals, but is not enough.
It is recommended that pregnant women take at least 400 milligrams of it through early pregnancy. The development of basic brain structures occurs 15 to 56 days after conception.
Look for this important study and editorial to be published Feb 13 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.