Duke Study on Autism Risk Factor

September 13, 2013

Simon Gregory, PhD, associate professor in the section of Medical Genetics, Department of Medicine at Duke University, is part of a study published August 12, 2013 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics that found a connection between induced labor and incidence of autism.

Gregory is also director of the David H. Murdock Research Institute genetics facility and a principal investigator studying multiple sclerosis with the Murdock Study, both at the NCRC.

Gregory emphasizes that the study indicates an association not causality between inducing labor and autism. The discovery of the association opens new avenues for research that could identify additional risk factors and lead to a better understanding of the origins of autism.

Gregory and colleagues with Duke University, Duke University Medical Center and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, studied over 625,000 birth records in North Carolina between 1990 and 1998. When compared with school records, the findings showed that children whose mother’s labor was “induced and augmented, induced only, or augmented only experienced increased odds of autism.” The effect was particularly evident in boys. The findings were published in the paper Association of Autism With Induced or Augmented Childbirth in North Carolina Birth Record (1990-1998) and Education Research (1997-2007) Databases,


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