This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Latest clinical research

Written by: | Published:

New research from the US has linked gastroesophageal reflux disease with some forms of cancer

Folic acid supplements reduce AED-related autistic traits
JAMA Neurology (2017) doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2017.3897

Folic acid supplements taken by mothers before and around conception reduce the risk of autistic traits among children exposed to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in utero, according to Norwegian research.

The authors assessed maternal folic acid supplementation from 4 weeks before to 12 weeks after conception and analysed folate concentration in maternal plasma at 17 to 19 weeks gestation. They used the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers and Social Communication Questionnaire to detect traits.

The study enrolled 104,946 mothers aged, on average, 29.8 years. In the 335 children exposed to AEDs, the risk of autistic traits was six times higher at 18 months of age (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 5.9) and eight times higher at 36 months (aOR 7.9) when mothers had not taken periconceptional folic acid supplements compared with those who took supplements.

In children of women without epilepsy, the risk of autistic traits was 30% and 70% higher at 18 and 36 months of age if mothers had not taken folic acid supplements. In children born to women with untreated epilepsy, the difference in autistic traits was not statistically different at either age.

Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.