Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

School of Public Health

First Advisor

Megan Smith

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is thought to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors, yet a specific cause remains unknown. In this study, exposure and outcome data from a South Korean cohort (N=3,711) were analyzed to investigate the possibility of an environmental contribution to autism etiology. No significant association was observed between use of prenatal medications and autistic behaviors, as measured by Korean versions of both the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ; OR 1.20, 95% CI 0.95–1.51) and the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS; OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.78–1.25). Similarly, no significant associations were observed when use of prenatal vitamins, folic acid, or iron supplements was examined. There was also no dose-response relationship observed between number of medications taken during pregnancy and increased autistic behaviors. No evidence for a role of prenatal medication use in autism etiology is suggested by the data in this study. Future investigations focusing on specific subgroups of medications in this population are warranted.

Comments

This is an Open Access Thesis.

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