Winter Conception Associated With Higher Autism Risk

Children conceived in winter have 6 percent higher risk than those conceived in summer

THURSDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- Children conceived during winter months may be at higher risk for developing autism than children conceived in the summer, according to research published online May 3 in Epidemiology.

Ousseny Zerbo, of the University of California Davis School of Medicine, and colleagues examined conception month and season and autism prevalence in 6,604,975 children born in California between 1990 and 2002 to investigate the potential association.

The researchers found that 19,238 autism cases were identified from 1990 to 2008. The risk for autism in children conceived during winter months (December, January, February) was 6 percent higher than for those conceived in the summer.

"Higher risks for autism among those conceived in winter months suggest the presence of environmental causes of autism that vary by season," the authors write.

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