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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: 3, Interesting) by Open4D on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:46PM

    by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:46PM (#7466) Journal

    Maybe their full paper goes into more detail, but without knowing why the women were taking it I have to view it with a big grain of salt. We already know fevers, influenza, even common colds can affect brain development in ways big and small. Acetaminophen is the primary course of action to prevent damage to the fetus when a woman is pregnant and has a fever.

    I haven't seen the full paper, but the abstract says: "Results did not appear to be confounded by maternal inflammation, infection during pregnancy, the mother's mental health problems, or other potential confounders we evaluated."
    Does that alleviate the big grain of salt?


    It's interesting research and certainly worth more investigation. I just hope people don't overreact to what is essentially a survey study looking at a single potential correlation.

    I agree, and so do the study authors (if the abstract is anything to go by).

    I tend to feel that most medical science reporting can't really be categorized as 'responsible journalism'. In this case, the LA Times article is okay. Though I still can't help feeling they would have been better spending their resources instead on a story emphasizing the importance some existing piece of official/consensus medical advice.

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