Link between autism and birth injury being studied

Pittsburgh parents-to-be can be extremely excited to meet their new addition. The nine months preceding birth can be filled with trepidation but also gratitude and enthusiasm. With the rise of autism across the country, many parents wonder if their child will be the next to be diagnosed.

A recent study in the journal Neuron suggests that autism may be caused by a brain injury. The brain injury occurring to the cerebellum, especially during the second and third trimester of pregnancy, can lead to it not developing properly. The cerebellum is in charge of a person’s movements, and according to the study’s authors, may also be responsible for helping minds process sensory information. This information is used to form normal relationships.

Children who have a cerebellar injury at birth have an increased risk of autism at the same rate of a smoker who develops lung cancer. Research indicates that by birth, nearly all the risk that leads to autism has occurred. Birth injuries that involve the brain can be very serious. They are not only linked to physical movements, such as cerebral palsy, but this new research shows that autism may also be linked to brain injury. Prenatal brain injuries can occur from lack of oxygen, brain hemorrhage, and other causes.

It is important for parents-to-be to be aware of the recent studies linking autism with brain injuries. Although brain injury in babies has always been linked to many birth injuries, the addition of autism is a major development. If a baby has had a brain injury caused by a negligent medical provider, whether before birth or during the delivery process, an attorney skilled in medical malpractice may be able to help the family.

Source: The Daily Beast, “Early brain injury might be the root of autism,” Russell Saunders, Sept. 7, 2014