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posted by Dopefish on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the will-somebody-think-of-the-children? dept.

GungnirSniper writes:

"The Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics, has found that use of acetaminophen (paracetamol) during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk for HKDs [hyperkinetic disorders] and ADHD-like behaviors in children. More than half of all mothers in the study reported acetaminophen use while pregnant.

The LA Times has a longer and lighter story about the study which reminds us 'that unchecked fevers have been associated with a number of poor health outcomes in babies, including lowered IQs.'

Led by neuropsychologist Miriam Cooper of the University of Cardiff in Wales, the group wrote that without more details on how acetaminophen might lay the foundations for later ADHD, and when and in whom it is most likely to boost risk, the current findings should be interpreted cautiously and should not change practice.

For pregnant women, the study underscores that, even when a medication is billed as safe, the safest route is to take it as rarely as possible and at the lowest effective dose, said UCLA obstetrician Dr. Daniel Kahn, a maternal-fetal health specialist who was not involved in the study.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't?"

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  • (Score: 2, Informative) by sbgen on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:32PM

    by sbgen (1302) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:32PM (#7388)

    You are right about the correlation/causation and I admire you for providing the two (properly numbered!) alternative possibilities. The study is based on the telephone interview of mothers about acetaminophen usage during pregnancy and the data available on their children (at 7 years age) about ADHD etc. The data they have used therefore can only provide correlation. While the statistical treatment of the analysis seems to be rigorous there is not functional analysis to definitively say acetaminophen usage resulted in the later life outcome for the children. The most important aspect is that now there is a definitive study correlating one to the other and the matter is really of public importance. I am sure actual functional analysis to show the biology (or to disprove causality) will follow (provided some one funds that research). The article also quotes previous studies showing that acetaminophen can cross placenta barrier, can be an endocrine disrupt or etc. ADHD/Autism/... seem to have some causes in very early part of life, perhaps prenatally. There is stuff to be worried about the effect of acetaminophen but solid data is necessary to proceed further.

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