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Paracetamol during pregnancy increases the risk of ADHD and autism in children

Paracetamol during pregnancy increases the risk of ADHD and autism in children


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Paracetamol in pregnancy carries risks for children
If women take painkillers frequently during pregnancy, their children's risk of developing autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) increases. Spanish researchers have now found that this is especially true for boys.

The use of painkillers during pregnancy is sometimes difficult to avoid, but it can also cause massive problems. Scientists from the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) have now found that children (especially boys) are more likely to develop autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) if their mothers frequently take the painkiller paracetamol during pregnancy. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "International Journal of Epidemiology".

Paracetamol increases the risk of autism in boys
The use of painkillers during pregnancy can have serious consequences for our children, warn the Spanish experts. Boys in particular seem to be more susceptible to these negative effects. The results of the new study show that prenatal paracetamol exposure in boys increases the risk of autism.

Androgenic disorders of the hormonal system
The male brain appears to be more susceptible to harmful influences during its early life, the scientists explain. The different results for different sexes indicate that the male brain is more sensitive to so-called androgenic disorders of the hormone system, says lead author Claudia Avella-Garcia from the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL).

Paracetamol increases the risk of ADHD in boys and girls
Increased use of paracetamol during pregnancy increased the risk of ADHD in children of both sexes, according to the researchers. Especially exposed children showed poorer performance in their attention, impulsiveness and the so-called visual speed processing, explain the doctors. Previous studies had previously shown that paracetamol is a high risk factor for child fertility in pregnancy, and other studies also found paracetamol to be harmful to the unborn child. The new results seem to support this.

The birth cohort study examined 2,644 mother-child pairs
In a birth cohort study, the researchers examined 2,644 mother-child pairs since the start of pregnancy. They conclude that exposed children at the age of five have a higher risk of developing symptoms of hyperactivity or impulsivity.

Paracetamol affects the cannabinoid receptors in the brain
Paracetamol can be harmful to the development of the nervous system for several reasons. First of all, it suppresses brain pain by affecting cannabinoid receptors, experts say. These receptors usually help determine how nerve cells connect or how they mature. Paracetamol can change these and other important processes, warn the doctors. Another study had also shown that acetaminophen lowers our compassion, which suggests a lasting effect in the brain.

Paracetamol can affect the development of the immune system and can be toxic
Paracetamol can also affect the development of our immune system or even have a direct toxic effect on some fetuses, because they do not have the same capacity as adults to metabolize the drug, warn the doctors. It can also create so-called oxidative stress, explains Jordi Julvez from the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology. (as)

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Video: Your Healthy Family: Is acetaminophen use in pregnancy linked to autism, ADHD? (May 2022).