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Study finds link between antidepressants, autism

Bloomberg reports on a study that suggests a link between psychiatric medicines that get into the drinking water supply, and autism.

The study published in the journal PLoS ONE found that fish exposed to antidepressants Prozac and Effexor, as well as anti-seizure drug Tegratol, showed gene patterns similar to those found in people with autism. Researchers said the findings suggest that small amounts of psychiatric medicines found in the drinking water supply may be a cause of the condition.

Study author Michael Thomas, a professor of evolutionary biology at Idaho State University in Pocatello, said concentrations of the drugs are found downstream from water treatment plants that process human waste containing the medicines. The molecules make their way into the supply downstream, where pregnant mothers who drink the water can pass the exposure to their fetuses.

Prozac is among a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, which have been previously linked to birth defects.

A number of studies indicate that SSRIs may be a factor in causing a wide range of birth defects, including potentially dangerous heart and lung conditions.

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 more about the study here:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0032917