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Wuhan U., China: Study links autism to moms drinking coffee, high fat diet

Mar 26, 2024, Daily Mail: Now scientists suggest women avoid coffee while pregnant because of links to AUTISM in their child

Scientists are cautioning women against drinking too much coffee during pregnancy after finding caffeine may raise the risk of autism in their child.

Rodents given a comparable amount of caffeine to what the average pregnant woman takes in had babies that showed some hallmark signs of autism.

They believe this cause is changes to brain function in the womb that cause poor communication between nerve cells, giving rise to autism symptoms.  

The cdc recommends that pregnant women limit their caffeine intake to about 200 mg/day, about two cups of coffee. 

Newborn rats who were born to caffeine-consuming parents and went on to eat high fat diet had even higher risk of autism-like symptoms 

An estimated one in 36 children in the US are diagnosed with ASD, typically around age four. The rate is a jump from one in 44 in 2021 . . .

The researchers behind the study came from Wuhan University in China. The study highlighted the risk factors that caffeine consumption and a high fat diet raise for autism diagnosis, 'emphasizing the importance of avoiding adverse environmental factors during pregnancy and after birth.' . . . 

And with some women drinking more than 300 mg of caffeine per day, the report suggests that more and more babies will show signs of autism unless pregnant women cut back. . . .

While it’s not known exactly how many pregnant women drink or take caffeine in some form (the compound can be found in mints and easy-to-swallow capsules), leading experts advise that they consume no more that 200 mg/day, about two cups of coffee.

But the new study by researchers at Wuhan University said the average pregnant woman drinks between 200mg/day to 500 mg/day, between two and four cups.

It was conducted in rats, a major caveat. . . .

They broke the pregnant rats into two groups - one exposed to the equivalent to a cup and a half and one group who was a placebo.

Behavioral tests were conducted to identify ASD-like behaviors in the offspring including social interaction tests and memory challenges. 

They also conducted physiological tests to determine the microbiome makeup and brain activity. 

Rats exposed to caffeine in the womb were more likely to show signs of autism, such as social dysfunction and poor spacial reasoning, after they were born. 

Caffeine is thought to disrupt developmental progress while a high fact diety raises inflammation and gut bacteria imbalances, both of which are believed to raise the odds of a child exhibiting signs of autism. 

Then, after birth, the offspring were divided into groups based on their diet, with some receiving a standard diet and others receiving a high-fat diet that many Americans follow.

This classification enabled the researchers to examine how both prenatal caffeine exposure and postnatal dietary patterns together influenced the probability of exhibiting behaviors resembling autism. . . .

The effects were most noticeable in male rats, suggesting that a similar difference could be seen in human babies.

The latest findings were published in the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety.


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