In April 2017, a study was published in Scientific Reports, a NatureResearch publication, suggesting that if a pregnant person smokes during pregnancy, their grandchild would be autistic.
Rodent Autism Experiments are Invalid
The study introduces rodent experiments. There is a problem with that, non human animals cannot be autistic. The brain chemistry and structure is completely different. It does not make scientific sense.
The Bogus Study
The study does admit that autism is genetic. Autistic parents have autistic children. They do say that environmental factors are lily to contribute to the variation to prevalence over time. They cite rodent studies but rodents cannot be autistic.
The study goes on to use the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) to test the hypothesis that if a mother had been exposed to smoke during pregnancy then their children have an increased chance of being autistic.
They explain that there have been a large variety of genetic variants and mutations associated with autism. This is with both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. These are common to rare DNA sequences which may be inherited from a parent or arise in early embryonic stage.
The study that was analyzed followed 14,000 children from birth. They identified different traits at different ages. There is just one problem. They never questioned if the parents are autistic themselves. They said in their own report that autism is genetic. They did not rule out the parents who might be autistic themselves.
All they did in this study was find the children of the parents who were exposed to tobacco smoke in pregnancy and looked to see which one of their children had an autism diagnosis. They also based this on perceived traits. This is not scientific. They did not make sure that there were no holes in their conclusion.
This study is invalid.
Health Risks of a Pregnant Person Smoking
Smoking has a lot of health risks in pregnancy but this is an unproven one.
The proven health risks are:
- low birth weight, even in full term births
- premature birth
- lung and brain damage of the fetus
- smoking doubles risk of abnormal bleeding during pregnancy and delivery.
- increases risk of birth defects
- higher risk of SIDS
- higher risk of miscarriage (spontaneous abortion)
- higher risk of fetal death (stillborn)
- higher risk of problems with the placenta
- reduced oxygen supply and nutrients to the fetus due to carbon monoxide and nicotine in tobacco smoke
- slower growth and development
- weaker fetal movement
- weaker lungs after birth
- higher risk of asthma after baby is born
- 4x increased risk of type 1 diabetes
Birth Story of a Child Who was Exposed to Smoke Entire Pregnancy
A is my half brother in law my partner and I have custody of. He was exposed to a lot of cigarette smoke before he was born. His biological mother smoked at least 1 pack per day.
The membranes ruptured when at 32 weeks. This was 8 weeks premature. His biological mother went to the hospital. He had to be delivered via emergency c section. He was under 1 pound in weight. He was born septic. He has a minor club foot. A spent over two months in the NICU and fought for survival from birth.
About two years later, he was doing ok. Then he had to be brought to the emergency room. He was diagnosed with type one diabetes when he was 2 years old.
He is autistic but it is not because of the tobacco. He is autistic because it runs and flaps in the family.