Washington: Pregnant women who don`t produce enough thyroid hormone are nearly four times likelier to give birth to autistic children than their healthy peers, a new study has claimed.Scientists from the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute in US and Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands studied more than 4,000 Dutch mothers and their children.Their results support the growing view that autism spectrum disorders can be caused by a lack of maternal thyroid hormone, which past studies have shown is crucial to the migration of foetal brain cells during embryo development."It is increasingly apparent to us that autism is caused by environmental factors in most cases, not by genetics. That gives me hope that prevention is possible," said lead author Gustavo Roman, a neurologist and neuroepidemiologist who directs the Nantz National Alzheimer Center.
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