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Taking SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy more than doubles autism risk, study finds


Pregnancy
(NaturalNews) While vaccines, pesticides and other industrial contaminants have been publicly linked to the onset of Autism Spectrum Disorder, we're now beginning to learn about the relationship between commonly prescribed anti-depressants and the often-severe developmental disability that astoundingly impacts one in 68 U.S. children.

Recently published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, this latest study analyzing the link between anti-depressants and the development of autism is the largest of its kind, reports Bloomberg Business – and it reached rather simple results: the consumption of antidepressants during pregnancy leads to greater incidences of autism.

Completed by researchers from the University of Montreal, the study found that women who take anti-depressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), during the second and third trimester, were more than twice as likely to give birth to a child that would later develop autism.

Autism rates jump 30 percent in two years

Though unsurprising, this new information is incredibly concerning considering that autism rates in the U.S. have skyrocketed in recent years – jumping 30 percent – as just two years ago, one in 88 children had autism.

Secondly, one in 10 Americans is now taking some type of anti-depressant, making the drugs the third most prescribed medication in the U.S. Interestingly, increased anti-depressant use correlates with soaring autism rates, with U.S. citizens consuming four times more anti-depressant meds in the late 2000s compared to the early 1990s, the Scientific American reports.

Researchers got their results after reviewing "provincial health records of more than 145,000 pregnancies and births in Quebec from 1998 to 2009."

Bloomberg reports:

"Children with autism were found to be born more often to mothers who took antidepressants than to those who didn't. While the study offers no definitive answers, the effect persisted when researchers sought to adjust for the possibility that depression itself raised the risk. Psychiatric disorders, both during pregnancy and after birth, have been linked to other developmental problems.

"Scientists don't fully understand the causes of autism, though many suspect a mix of genetics and environmental factors. Trying to gauge the role of medications during pregnancy is difficult—experts cautioned that there isn't any clear evidence that allowing depression to continue untreated is safer than taking antidepressants."

Researchers suggest expecting mothers suffering from depression should utilize alternatives to Big Pharma drugs

While most would agree that depression isn't good for the mother or child, there are certainly varying opinions on how to treat prolonged and intense feelings of sadness.

In terms of dealing with depression, most of our readers know that whenever possible, Natural News advocates alternatives to harmful drugs, including exercise (almost no one feels depressed after they drop down and do 10 push-ups), healthy eating, meditation and spending time in nature or with animals, friends or family – all of which have zero side-effects, and are very likely to decrease feelings of depression.

Anick Berard, a co-author of the study and professor of pharmacy at the University of Montreal, agrees. She suggests that women suffering from mild or moderate depression should consider an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs, including therapy or exercise.

"What we're trying to do with this study is basically to give data to women," said Berard. "I'm not trying to scare women, but women need to be aware of the risks and benefits of what they're doing."

The most commonly prescribed anti-depressants are Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft – all of which carry a wide set of serious side effects, including the tendency to commit violent acts such as murder or suicide.

Zoloft's maker, Pfizer, doesn't identify autism as a potential side-effect for pregnant women taking the drug, according to a statement made via email by company spokesman MacKay Jimeson:

"There is extensive science supporting the safety and efficacy of sertraline [Zoloft's generic name]," said Jimeson.

However, we all know that the data he's likely referring to was generated by Zoloft itself. Meanwhile, Paxil maker GlaxoSmithKline admitted that doctors should advise pregnant women of the risks associated with the drug.

Sources:

CNN.com

Bloomberg.com

eMedExpert.com

ScientificAmerican.com
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