Autism awareness month!

Autism awareness ribbon above letter blocks spelling autism on white background

April is Autism Awareness Month, a condition that is a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, and affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills. Studies suggest that the risk of autism is influenced equally by genetic and environmental factors. These can be as varied as parental age, birth complications, maternal nutrition at conception and exposure to pollution during early brain development. A growing body of research suggests that a woman can reduce her risk of having a child with autism by taking prenatal vitamins containing folic acid (at least 600 mcg a day) during the months before and after conception. Researchers noted the use of folic acid supplements from four weeks before the start of pregnancy to eight weeks after. In addition, some research suggests that byproducts from harmful gut bacteria can interfere with brain development and function. The idea of a gut-brain connection isn’t new. It’s supported by a large body of research showing continuous communication between the bacteria that inhabit the digestive tract and the body’s immune system – and also between the immune system and the brain. Nourishing the gut’s flora with probiotics may be beneficial in this regard. -Autism Speaks