Saturday, 8 April 2017

One more time folks... pregnancy folate and autism risk


Folate yet again on this blog? Sorry but that's just how the peer-reviewed papers have fallen...

"Maternal folate supplementation during pregnancy may reduce the risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in the offspring, especially in the Western population."

So said the meta-analysis by Yu and colleagues [1] reporting on a topic that has seen quite a lot of research interest down the years (see here). Authors this time around cumulatively examined data for some 4,500 cases of autism compared with well over a million control (not-autism) cases and determined that on the whole "maternal folate supplementation during pregnancy significantly reduced the risk of ASD in the offspring in the total population (OR=0.798, 95%CI: 0.669-0.952, P=0.012)."

What more is there to say on this topic? Well, potentially quite a bit, not least that not every study has suggested that folate is necessarily a risk reducer when it comes to offspring autism (see here) bearing in mind the potential number of confounders affecting any relationship. Of the multiple occasions that I've talked about folate and autism on this blog, I'm also minded to bring back into the frame how (a) the folate cycle, dealing with the biological metabolism of folate, and its related components is pretty complicated when it comes to a label like autism (see here) and (b) one area that is becoming particularly interesting is in relation to antibodies and folate receptors (see here for example) with autism in mind. Science still needs to do quite a bit more in relation to mechanics of any link between pregnancy folate use/levels and offspring autism risk.

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[1] Yu XF. et al. Association between maternal folate supplementation during pregnancy and the risk of autism spectrum disorder in the offspring: a Meta analysis. Zhongguo Dang Dai Er Ke Za Zhi. 2017 Mar;19(3):286-291.

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ResearchBlogging.org Yu XF, Li M, & Zheng Y (2017). [Association between maternal folate supplementation during pregnancy and the risk of autism spectrum disorder in the offspring: a Meta analysis]. Zhongguo dang dai er ke za zhi = Chinese journal of contemporary pediatrics, 19 (3), 286-291 PMID: 28302198