Type 1 Diabetes in Moms Tied to Autism in Kids

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH

Children born to mothers with type 1 diabetes face increased risk for autism spectrum disorder, according to findings reported in JAMA. Previous research suggested an association with type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.

Researchers retrospectively studied the records of nearly 420,000 children born in a large California health system between 1995 and 2012. During a median 7 years’ follow-up, 1.4% were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

After multivariable adjustment, exposure to maternal type 1 diabetes was associated with a 2.3-fold increase in autism risk. Additionally, exposure to type 2 diabetes was associated with a 1.4-fold risk increase, and exposure to gestational diabetes by 26 weeks’ gestation (but not later) carried a 1.3-fold risk increase.

The researchers conclude, “These results suggest that the severity of maternal diabetes and the timing of exposure (early vs late in pregnancy) may be associated with the risk of [autism] in offspring of diabetic mothers.”