New research from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health may have found a correlation between maternal obesity and diabetes, and an increased risk of autism in infants. Mothers who are obese and have diabetes are more than four times as likely to give birth to a baby on the autism spectrum as a mother with a healthy weight without diabetes. One possible explanation is that obesity and diabetes causes stress and inflammation, which can weaken the immune system, and disrupted immune systems can be a risk for autism. Another possible explanation is the lower uptake of folate in pregnant mothers who are obese. Folate acts as a protective barrier against the risk of autism. Neither of these theories have been confirmed. However, the team who conducted the findings are confident this research warrants further investigation.
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Maternal obesity and diabetes linked with increased infant autism risk