Folic Acid Supplements Reduce Autism Risk



A new study finds that taking folic acid supplements during early pregnancy can reduce the risk of autism by 39 percent.


 

 

FOLIC ACID SUPPLEMENTS REDUCE AUTISM RISK

For reasons that remain unclear at this time, the number of children diagnosed with autism has skyrocketed in recent years.  While many cases of autism appear to be linked to specific genetic abnormalities that can be inherited, or to other factors that are strongly associated with autism, in the majority of cases, no specific causes are apparent. 

One important focus of autism research is in the area of the “prenatal environment,” which is to say, the environment that the developing fetus experiences prior to delivery.  For example, maternal infections with certain viruses during pregnancy have been linked with autism.  In other cases, maternal exposure to specific environmental toxins during pregnancy has also been associated with an increased risk of autism.  Due to growing evidence that the fetal environment during pregnancy may play an important role in the risk of developing autism, there has also been an interest in looking at nutritional factors that may play a role in either the prevention or development of autism during pregnancy. 

Folic acid (Vitamin B9) has previously been shown to play an important role in the development of the brain and spinal cord during early fetal development.  For example, devastating abnormalities in brain and spinal cord development, collectively referred to as neural tube defects, have been specifically linked to inadequate folic acid intake during early pregnancy.  Because folic acid supplementation during early pregnancy reduces the incidence of neural tube defects by almost 50 percent, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has mandated folic acid supplementation of all food products derived from grains and cereals in the United States.  Now, a newly published clinical research study suggests that folic acid supplementation during early pregnancy may also significantly reduce the risk of autism.  This study appears in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In this landmark study, more than 85,000 children born in Norway between 2002 and 2008 took part in the prospective Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study.  These children were closely followed in this study, until March 31, 2012.  The use (or nonuse) of folic acid supplements by the mothers of these children, before and during pregnancy, was then assessed.  The incidence of autism in this very large group of children was then correlated with their mothers’ use (or nonuse) of folic acid during early pregnancy.    

The findings of this study were rather dramatic.  At the end of this study’s observation period, 270 children had been formally diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder, including 114 children with autistic disorder (autism), 56 with Asperger’s syndrome, and 100 with Pervasive Developmental Disorder.  Although the risk of Asperger’s syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder did not appear to vary with respect to folic acid supplementation during early pregnancy, the use of folic acid supplements prior to and during pregnancy was associated with a 39 percent decrease in the risk of autistic disorder (autism), when compared to the children of mothers who did not take folic acids supplements.  (The authors of this study also noted that the statistical power of this study was not strong enough to detect a subtle impact of folic acid supplementation on the risk of Asperger’s syndrome or Pervasive Developmental Disorder, and so a potential mildly beneficial effect of folic acid on the incidence of these two autistic spectrum disorders cannot be ruled out at this time.)

Therefore, the findings of this large prospective clinical research study indicate that the incidence of autism can be significantly reduced by folic acid supplementation just prior to pregnancy, and during pregnancy, just as the incidence of neural tube defects has been reduced using this same strategy.

 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

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Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1

At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.




Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


 

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, more than 2.5 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Obese Fathers (Not Obese Mothers) Increase Their Children’s Risk of Obesity






A new study finds that paternal obesity significantly increases the risk of obesity in children, but not maternal obesity.


 

 

OBESE FATHERS (NOT OBESE MOTHERS) INCREASE THEIR CHILDREN’S RISK OF OBESITY

The incidence of obesity has skyrocketed over the past 10 years, and at this time, nearly two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese.  Moreover, fat- and sugar-packed foods, combined with sedentary lifestyles, have resulted not only in an epidemic of obesity among adults, but even our children and teens are heavier than ever before.

A newly published prospective public health study, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, has reported a rather interesting finding regarding obesity patterns in Australian families.  This study, which appears in the current issue of theInternational Journal of Obesity, followed more than 3,000 men, women and children in two-parent families between 2004 and 2008.  Height and weight data was collected on all family members during this 4-year study.

Not surprisingly, obesity was more common, in general, among the children of obese parents.  However, a very interesting phenomenon was observed in that childhood obesity was significantly associated with having an overweight or obese father and a mother of normal weight, but not with having a normal weight father and an overweight or obese mother.  In this study, children with an overweight or obese father (but a normal weight mother) were nearly 15 times more likely to be obese than children without obese parents.  (Once again, however, having an overweight or obese mother, and a normal weight father, was not associated with an increased risk of childhood obesity when compared to children with normal weight parents.)

While this study was not designed to explain why paternal obesity appeared to increase the risk of childhood obesity, while maternal obesity apparently did not, this unexpected finding suggests that either behavioral or genetic factors (or both) linked to obesity in fathers have a particularly strong impact on their children’s risk of also becoming overweight or obese.  The results of this study also suggest that interventions to prevent childhood obesity may be especially important in families with overweight or obese fathers.

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, the incidence of obesity has skyrocketed over the past 10 years, and obesity is known to significantly increase the risk of multiple types of cancer, including cancers of the breast, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, uterus, colon, rectum, and other organs.  In fact, even conservative estimates suggest that at least 10 percent of all cancer cases are directly linked to obesity.  If you are overweight or obese, please consult with your doctor about safe, evidence-based approaches to weight loss.



For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a lighthearted perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 






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