How seasons influence the risk of developing autism in children?


Winter is a magical season… We usually wait for the holiday and for the presents, no matter how old we are. We start to believe in all good things, believe that this season will be special, our dreams will come true for sure, the world will become a bit kinder and softer… as soft as this beautiful snow falling down behind the windows. What a mesmerizing vision!

Unfortunately, scientists and researchers are not that romantic. The recent study in Scotland shows that children conceived during winter months are more likely to be diagnosed with autism and other related developmental disorders than those conceived in summer. The research was based on 800,000 school age children in Scotland.

Exposure to influence and deficit of vitamin D increase the risk of autism during winter pregnancies. The researchers found that 8.9% of children conceived between January and March have autism, intellectual disabilities or learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, compared with 7.6% of children conceived between July and September. The most “dangerous” month is considered to be February, that’s when the highest rate of intellectual disabilities is monitored. The lowest rate in developmental disabilities is observed in August.

“In Scotland, within those winter months, you don’t have enough sunlight for the mother to generate vitamin D, so the babies might be deprived of it as they’re developing,” says Jill Pell, lead researcher and director of the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Health and Wellbein.

Probably, parents who live in those countries, where summer is perennial, think they have nothing to worry about, however there is still a question about sun radiation. The researchers are still trying to learn more about the sunlight exposure by measuring monthly exposure to ultraviolet radiation among pregnant women.

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