APR 12, 2021 1:42 AM PDT

Epidural Use Not Linked To Autism

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Epidurals are a form of pain relief during childbirth and is used by more than half of all women in labor. Many women who choose to opt out of epidurals may have concerns for links to autism—a developmental disorder affecting 1 in 54 children across the United States. Now, a recent study affirms no association between autism and epidural drugs.

"We did not find evidence for any genuine link between having an epidural and putting your baby at increased risk of autism spectrum disorder," said the study's senior author, Alexander Butwick, MD, associate professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine at Stanford.

Findings were published in JAMA Pediatrics and helps reassure physicians as well as pregnant women of the safety profile regarding epidural drug use.

During the duration of epidural administration, an aesthetic is given via a catheter into the epidural space of the spinal cord. Once injected, a woman is relieved from intensive pain associated with labor contractions. They also are given during emergency birth situations often involving surgery—such as a C-section.

Learn more about epidural administration:

"The epidural is the gold standard in labor pain management," said the study's lead author, Elizabeth Wall-Wieler, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Manitoba. "The vast majority of evidence around epidurals, including that from our new study, shows that they are the most effective means of providing pain relief to women during labor and that serious complications are rare."

A study was published in late 2020 describing that epidural use was associated with a 37% greater risk of later autism diagnosis for children. The study brough wide range concerns as well as criticism for failing to account the socioeconomic, genetic and medical risk factors for autism that is separate from the epidural. In contrast, the new study examined epidural use during the childbirth of 123,175 children and later diagnoses of autism in Manitoba, Canada.

"Manitoba has these wonderful, linked data sets that are population-wide," Butwick said, noting that the research team was able to access information that linked together individuals' medical records, prescriptions, other health-related data, socioeconomic information, and information about children's academic achievements. "It's extraordinary information that is super rich," he said.

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
You May Also Like
MAR 06, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Green Tea Extract Can Affect Facial Development in Kids With Down Syndrome
MAR 06, 2021
Green Tea Extract Can Affect Facial Development in Kids With Down Syndrome
Individuals with Down syndrome often have certain facial features. New research has suggested that green tea supplements ...
MAY 06, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Tweaked Version of Ketamine Could Solve the Opioid Crisis
MAY 06, 2021
Tweaked Version of Ketamine Could Solve the Opioid Crisis
Medications that manage post-operative pain are some of the main entry points to opioid addiction and overdose in the US ...
MAY 17, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Survey Results: Where Is Pluripotent Stem Cell Research Now?
MAY 17, 2021
Survey Results: Where Is Pluripotent Stem Cell Research Now?
Human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) lines are now commonly used across the globe. In the lab, researchers rely on hPSCs t ...
MAY 15, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
New Drug Blocks Critical Step in Malaria Life Cycle
MAY 15, 2021
New Drug Blocks Critical Step in Malaria Life Cycle
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2019, there were approximately 229 million cases of malaria around ...
MAY 28, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Some Animals Can Breathe Through Their Whats?
MAY 28, 2021
Some Animals Can Breathe Through Their Whats?
There are some aquatic animals like sea cucumbers and some types of catfish that can survive in environments with limite ...
JUN 09, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Mechanism Linking Neurodegeneration & Brain Injury May Open Treatment Options
JUN 09, 2021
Mechanism Linking Neurodegeneration & Brain Injury May Open Treatment Options
Studies have shown that there is a link between blows to the head and neurodegeneration. Repeated head trauma is associa ...
Loading Comments...