TAKING folic acid before conception and in the early stages of pregnancy appears to reduce the risk of children developing autism, a study suggests.
The research, carried out among 85,000 children, found that women who took the supplement, also known to reduce the risk of spina bifida, were 40 per cent less likely to have a child suffering from autism.
The researchers found that timing was key, with folic acid needing to be taken between four weeks before pregnancy to eight weeks into pregnancy to have an impact on autism risk.
But Scottish campaigners said more research was needed before official advice could be given to mothers-to-be.
Dr Robert Moffat, national director of the National Autistic Society (NAS) Scotland, said: “While we welcome studies such as this, which aim to improve our understanding of autism, far more research would have to be undertaken across a far greater geographical area before any definite conclusions can be drawn from the results. We therefore urge mothers-to-be to treat this research with caution until further investigations are done.”
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