Thursday, February 23, 2017

Autism breakthrough?

Studies: Autism risk linked to herpes infection during early pregnancy
NEW YORK - Scientists from Colombia University and the Norwegian Institute of Public Heath have discovered that women actively infected with genital herpes during early pregnancy was twice as likely to have a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) later on in life.
About one in five American women has HSV-2, also known as genital herpes. HSV-2 is a highly contagious and lifelong infection, usually spread through sex.
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The finding mirrors earlier epidemiological data indicating that activation of the maternal immune system during early-to-mid-pregnancy is associated with long-term developmental and behavioral problems in offspring.
However, of these pathogens examined : Toxoplasma gondii, rubella virus, cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex viruses type 1 and 2, only herpes simplex virus type 2 was implicated.

“The cause or causes of most cases of autism are unknown,” says senior author W. Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity and the John Snow Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School. “But evidence suggests a role for both genetic and environmental factors. Our work suggests that inflammation and immune activation may contribute to risk. Herpes simplex virus 2 could be one of any number of infectious agents involved.”