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Winter Conception Tied to Raised Risk for Autism - featured May 10, 2011

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[Source: Healthday/US News and World Report]

Children conceived in winter seem to have a greater risk of being diagnosed with autism, a new study suggests.

Environmental factors -- including exposure to seasonal viruses such as influenza and changes in diet -- may play a role in the greater risk for autism among children conceived during the winter, according to the University of California, Davis researchers.

The investigators analyzed data from 6.6 million children who were born in California between January 1990 and December 2002 and followed up until the children were 6 years old. The risk of an autism diagnosis was higher for children conceived in December, January, February and March than for those conceived in other months of the year, the study found.

Compared with children conceived in July, the risk for autism was 8 percent higher among those conceived in December and 16 percent higher for those conceived in March, according to the report, published online May 3 in Epidemiology.

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Tags: News of the Week Autism Newsletter 13 May 2011