Study Links C-Sections To Autism And ADHD, But Experts Say The Research Relies On Correlation Over Causation
The new study showed that when a woman gives birth by cesarean section, autism in the child is 33% more likely and the odds of ADHD increase by 17%. But experts say the truth is more nuanced than those startling numbers suggest, mostly because there could be a third factor at play that researchers didn't take into account.
Cesarean Sections Probably Don't Cause Autism Or ADHD: 'Correlation Doesn't Equal Causation'
A new study that combines data from over 20 million births has found that a Cesarean section delivery is associated with autism spectrum disorder (autism) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, the study does not indicate that Cesarean section deliveries cause autism or ADHD. The truth is much more difficult to decipher, and provides an excellent case study for the old adage that correlation doesn't equal causation. (Whitehouse, 8/29)
Possible Link Between C-Section And Autism, ADHD
The statistical analysis, published in JAMA Network Open, does not prove that having a C-section directly causes such problems. Other factors that lead doctors to order a surgical delivery of the baby may underlie the link. The researchers collected studies covering more than 20 million deliveries dating back to 1999, to create a large pool of data to assess risks associated with cesarean delivery that may not be evident in the smaller individual studies. (Emergy, 8/28)
US News & World Report:
C-Section Tied To Higher Risk Of Autism, ADHD
"Our study does not provide irrefutable proof that C-sections cause psychiatric disorders. Association is not causation," Tianyang Zhang, a researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and lead author of the study, tells U.S. News. "However, we believe that the study provides information that may help parents (and) doctors to make informed decisions about how they want their births to be," Zhang adds. (Galvin, 8/28)
Babies Born By Caesarean One Third More Likely To Develop Autism
Dr Pat O’Brien, Consultant Obstetrician and Spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: “This systematic review and meta-analysis shows an association between caesarean birth and autism and ADHD, but a number of underlying factors which may have led to the development of these conditions were not accounted for. Therefore, the findings of this paper do not show that caesarean birth leads to autism and ADHD.” (Donnelly, 8/28)