A new study reveals that babies born to a mother who was previously infected with an STD are twice more likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder compared to those born to mothers who were healthy. The study also points out that there is a strong link between genital herpes and autism.
Although the scientists don’t know for certain what causes autism or the predilection towards repetitive actions and behaviors, a new study sheds some light on a possible cause. According to the new study performed by a team of scientists from the Columbia University, STDs, especially genital herpes may up the chances of a mother giving birth to a child with autism spectrum disorder.
During their study, the scientists have discovered that mothers who have become infected with the herpes simplex two viri, were twice more likely to give birth to a baby with this condition. According to the team, the herpes simplex two virus accounts for most of the genital herpes cases.
Despite the fact that the condition cannot be cured, it can be kept in check with various treatments. However, according to the researchers, once infected with the herpes simplex two various, patients will have to carry it for the rest of their lives. The virus will remain dormant, springing to life now and then. The good news is that a strong immune system can help the host keep the virus at bay, thus significantly reducing its flare-ups.
Now, Ian Lipkin, one of the researchers involved in the project, declared that the herpes simplex two virus has a specific fetus interaction system. The researcher noted that unlike the case of other viruses like the infamous Zika or rubella which simply bypasses the mom’s immune system and wreaks havoc in the fetus’s brain, the simplex two virus triggers an inflammatory reaction when clashing with the mom’s immunes system.
Subsequently, the immune system’s retaliation is the one that damages the fetus’s brain. More specifically, this inflammatory response can impede the fetal brain’s natural development, thus making him or her susceptible to autism spectrum disorder.
For the purpose of this study, Lipkin and his colleagues studied the medical files of approximately 464 healthy mom who gave birth to healthy infants and a total of 442 case files belonging to STD-infected moms (genital herpes) who gave birth to children with autism.
After testing their response to other viruses which are known to cause birth defects, the researchers have discovered that only those moms who had a high level of herpes simplex two virus antibodies had a high chance of giving birth to babies with autism.
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