Smoking in pregnancy may lead to high-functioning autism in children, according to a new study.
Preliminary findings have indicated that mothers who smoke while pregnant are at an increased chance of giving birth to a child with a severe form of autism, including Asperger's Disorder.
The discovery was made when Dr Amy Kalkbrenner and a team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee compared smoking data from birth certificates of thousands of children in the US to a database of children diagnosed with autism.
It was found that of those diagnosed with autism, if their mothers smoked they were more likely to have a high-functioning variation of the condition.
Dr Kalkbrenner commented: "The study doesn’t say for certain that smoking is a risk factor for autism. But it does say that if there is an association, it’s between smoking and certain types of autism."
However, further study is needed to properly understand the link, according to the researchers.
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