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How much evidence is needed for change to occur?

Posted on: April 24, 2017   by  John Cannell, MD


Imagine you are an obstetrician and half your patients took drug X in the first trimester for morning sickness, and the other half took nothing. In this imaginary scenario, a single pediatrician took care of all the infants you delivered. Say that pediatrician came to you and reported that the children of the mothers who took drug X were four times more likely to develop autism than the children of the mothers who took nothing. What would you do? You would stop all patients from taking drug X and report the findings to the FDA who would readily ban the sale of the drug and remove it from pharmacies.

It turns out that there is a sort of “drug” that causes autism. That “drug” is gestational vitamin D deficiency. Very recently, researchers in China found the lowest quartile (1/4) of 25(OH)D levels among pregnant women in their first trimester were associated with a four-fold risk of ASD in the subsequent offspring. [i]  In the same study, higher levels of 25(OH)D were associated with decreasing severity of ASD (R=-0.3, P = 0.001), which helps confirm the two are associated. In this study, maternal 25(OH)D levels in the lower 3 quartiles (1, 2, 3) compared to the highest quartile (4) were associated with increased odds of autism (almost four-fold) in the offspring: [Odds Ratio (OR), Q1: OR = 3.99, (P=0.001); Q2: OR = 2.68, (P=0.006); Q3: OR = 1.36, (P=0.25)].

However, vitamin D is not accredited for its therapeutic benefits in disease prevention or treatment by the FDA and mainstream medicine. Therefore, until this occurs, autism rates will continue to rise.

[i] Chen J, Xin K, Wei J, Zhang K, Xiao H. Lower maternal serum 25(OH) D in first trimester associated with higher autism risk in Chinese offspring. J Psychosom Res. 2016 Oct;89:98-101.

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