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Editorial cites antidepressants as possible cause of autism

An editorial in the Concord Monitor calls for more funding and research into the causes and treatment of autism.

The editorial cites a recent study from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which raised the prevalence of autism by 78 percent, from 1 in 150 births to 1 in 88.

On average, according to the CDC study, 1 in every 252 girls and 1 in every 54 boys born today will be diagnosed with the neurological disorder. Although some of that can be attributed to more autism awareness, screening and diagnosis, the full extent of the increase remains a mystery.

The editorial mentions a number of potential causes for autism that merit further investigation. For example, the increase may be due to the environmental presence of a number of chemicals that are known to cause neurological disorders, including autism.

The editorial also mentions a study reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry that found a strong link between the use of antidepressants like Prozac and Zoloft by pregnant women and an increased likelihood of bearing an autistic child.

Studies have also linked antidepressants classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – including Zoloft and Prozac – with potentially dangerous heart and lung defects in babies born to women who take the drugs while pregnant.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with an SSRI lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries.

See the CDC information on autism at http://www.cdc.gov/Features/CountingAutism/.