Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is caused by some neurodevelopmental disorders that contribute to children’s repetitive behaviors, failure in language and social interaction. The main cause of ASD is still not known, but it is known that exposure to certain sex hormones may cause ASD. The development of the brain and central nervous system (CNS) are affected by Androgens (a sex hormone). Mothers with poly cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) have commonly increased levels of Androgens, also during pregnancy. Parents to autistic children face many difficult challenges in their daily lives. Therefore the underlying causes for developing ASD is of importance to find out.

Aim

Epidemilogical study at Karolinska Institute studied the Swedish health and population register databases since 1984 to 2007 for children aged 4-17 and identified 24000 ASD of 200,000 controls.

Results/Conclusion

The results suggest that exposure to sex hormones such as Androgens in maternal Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in children at their early ages can increase risk of autism in both sexes.

Maternal PCOS may increase the risk of ASD in their children up to 59 per cent. Other than increased exposure to Androgens in maternal PCOS, metabolic problems associated to PCOS might be related to increased risk of ASD for their children.

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