A recent study has shown that ultrasound exposure during the first trimester has been linked to the severity of autism symptoms.
What factors can cause severe symptoms?
Researchers specifically studied the different symptoms of autism, but not exactly what causes it. They found that exposure to ultrasounds during the first trimester can cause much more severe autism symptoms for children who have been diagnosed with the condition.
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While the factors that cause autism haven’t been found, it’s nonetheless important to know what factors can cause severe symptoms.
According to Dr. Sara Webb, the study’s lead author, “This study really looks at the question: within kids with autism, what are some of the factors that may result in a child having a good outcome or higher IQ or better language or less severity versus a child who maybe takes more of a hit and continues to struggle throughout their lifespan?”
No significant findings were found for females
The study involves 2,644 families in the United States and found that the male children diagnosed with autism and exposed to ultrasound during the first trimester had lower verbal IQ and heightened repetitive behaviour. The study mainly focused on males since no significant findings were found for females.
In the US, FDA guidelines recommend that diagnostic ultrasound should only be used during the first trimester out of necessity. According to co-author Pierre Mourad, “I believe the implications of our results are to bolster the FDA guidelines.” He also added that the effect of ultrasound during the second and third trimester did not show any link.
The researchers are currently trying to look more closely into the links between ultrasound and the severity of autism symptoms. They, however, add that so far, they have not seen a link between ultrasound use and autism incidence.
What exactly is autism?
According to autismspeaks.org, autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), both refer to a group of complex disorders that are related to brain development. These can be characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal as well as nonverbal communication, and various repetitive behaviours.
Based on statistics, about 1 in 68 American children are on the autism spectrum. Studies also show that autism is five times more common among boys than girls. In the US, autism affects over 3 million individuals and there are even more affected worldwide.
Image source: iStock
Autism covers a wide spectrum of symptoms. Some people who suffer from autism are unable to take care of themselves, while others have exceptional abilities when it comes to visual skills, music, and academic skills. 40% of people diagnosed with autism have an average or above-average intellectual ability.
The world can be difficult for someone that has autism, so it’s important that we do our best to understand their situation and treat them the same way that we treat ourselves and other people.
Regardless of the type of autism a person has, one thing is clear. All of them need our acceptance, respect, love, and support, just like everyone else.
Sources: parentherald.com, sciencedaily.com
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