Prenatal Exposure to Antibiotics May Increase the Risk of Developing ADHD and ASD

August 14, 2023

Late Preterm and Term Infants Realized the Most Significant Impact of Exposure

A recent study conducted in Taiwan has found a positive association between exposure to prenatal antibiotics and the subsequent development of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) during childhood. The study examined the relevance of the timing of exposure and the dose effect on the development of these conditions, finding a dose-dependent impact on ADHD but not on ASD. The authors found that exposure to antibiotics at any time during pregnancy increased the cumulative risk. However, only exposure after 34 weeks of gestation had a significant impact on the occurrence of ASD. The study had a large sample size of over 900,000 participants and a longitudinal follow-up of at least six years. The authors suggest their findings advance the understanding of how and when ADHD and ASD can develop in some children. They also indicate that their results show the potential for identifying preventive strategies to mitigate the incidence of ADHD and ASD.

Original Study

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