A new study published in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics finds that children whose mothers have autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease, type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are three times more likely to develop autism than children born to healthy mothers.
For the study, researchers from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University collected data from 3,325 Danish children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder born between 1993 and 2004. The researchers determined that children with mothers diagnosed with autoimmune diseases had a higher likelihood of developing autism than children born to mothers not diagnosed with an autoimmune condition. According to the lead researcher, the "increased risk for type 1 diabetes is a little less than 2 times, for rheumatoid arthritis it's about 1.5 times and for celiac disease it's more than 3 times."
Researchers commenting on the study say the findings are important because they support the notion that development of autism is related to problems with the immune system. They note however that researchers still don't know a lot about what causes autism but that it is "interesting" that the results suggest a link between autoimmune issues in parents of children with autism.
And, of course the study shows the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of all autoimmune diseases. For celiac disease, it's so easy to get tested and all members of a family with celiac should get tested. With the new Biocard™ Celiac Test it's as simple as a finger prick and within 10 minutes you'll know the results. The studies just keep on coming, so get tested today!