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Originally published June 4 2014

Taking antidepressants during pregnancy doubles child's autism risk

by L.J. Devon, Staff Writer

(NaturalNews) Antidepressant medications like SSRIs detach users from reality by modifying neurotransmitter levels of serotonin. According to a new study, if these brain chemistry manipulators are taken during pregnancy, they may also detach offspring from reality, inviting newborns into a new age of autism spectrum disorders.

Today, the emergence of autism spectrum disorders continues to expand, now affecting 1 in 68 births, representing a society bathed in neurotoxins and mind-altering chemicals.

Researchers are now attempting to isolate the causes of autism spectrum disorders. Prenatal use of antidepressant medications may pose one of the greatest risk factors for autism spectrum disorders as confirmed by a study from Drexel University.

The team of Drexel researchers investigated large population-based registers between 1997 and 2006. The total number of pregnancies studied was 750,000.

In the study, two categories of pregnant women were evaluated. Both groups of women were reportedly depressed during pregnancy. The factors for depression could have included stress, malnutrition, life situations or toxin overload. The difference between the groups of women was that one group faced their depression naturally without taking SSRIs; the other group departed from reality and succumbed to SSRI antidepressant medications during pregnancy.

SSRIs during pregnancy increase autism rates in offspring twofold

When the researchers investigated the births of these women, they found that those who chose the SSRIs during pregnancy gave birth to autistic children at a rate of 1.5 percent. For those women who dealt with their depression naturally, only 0.7 percent of their offspring were diagnosed in the autism spectrum disorder. These data show that antidepressant medication use during pregnancy can increase offspring risk of autism by twofold!

"We found a two-fold increased risk for ASD associated with in utero exposure to SSRIs compared to the unexposed reference group" said lead author Nicole Gidaya, PhD. "More importantly, in our analysis we accounted for under-reporting of maternal depression in the register. This suggests that under-reporting of the confounder, maternal depression, may be a limitation in approaches previously used in the other studies."

By prohibiting SSRI use during pregnancy, healthcare professionals could potentially lower autism rates across the board by 50 percent. Still, researchers warn that other environmental toxins may be involved and that a combination of factors may be perpetuating the mothers' depression and subsequent offspring autism levels.

"As we complete research in our attempts to understand autism's causes we continue to realize that there are likely many genetic and non-genetic contributors," said Craig Newschaffer, PhD, director of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, a professor at Drexel's School of Public Health and the study's senior author. "We must begin trying to map these multiple risk factors on to common pathways, so that these pathways can be a focus in our effort to prevent the impairment associated with ASD. Pathways involving the brain's serotonin system are still one viable candidate."

Depression changes brain chemistry and is a natural part of life; SSRIs damage one's ability to cope and heal naturally

Depression among all the women in the study, whether under-reported or over-reported, indicates other factors that may be associated with autism. Imbalanced hormones, due to synthetic chemicals, phthalates and fragrances, may cause depression in women and be another risk factor for autism. Neurotoxins like mercury may be limiting a person's cognitive function, stressing brain chemistry and forcing the mind to undergo changes as the brain adapts. This could be caused by a simple flu shot, which has been confirmed for delivering 51,000 parts per billion of mercury directly into the bloodstream.

During troubling and stressful times, a person's brain may go through changes too, naturally offsetting serotonin levels. Those levels can return naturally as the person lives through the experience. Through artificial manipulation of serotonin levels with antidepressant medications, the brain is thrown out of its natural state of coping with reality. To adapt to the sudden chemical changes, the brain has to work harder and in unfamiliar ways. The person may experience other side effects as it tries to cope by normalizing brain chemistry. A person may become suicidal or detached from reality during this time as the antidepressant medications exacerbate mental stressors, chemical imbalances and coping mechanisms.

When SSRIs are introduced during pregnancy, these manipulations can be multiplied in utero, affecting the developing brain of the baby. It's not hard to see why these SSRIs could cause a child to be born into the autism spectrum, since these medications modify neurotransmitter levels of serotonin at such a vulnerable time of fetal development.

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