Evid Based Med doi:10.1136/eb-2013-101311
  • Aetiology
  • Cohort study

Maternal folic acid supplements associated with reduced autism risk in the child

  1. Rebecca J Schmidt
  1. Public Health Sciences, University of California Davis, Davis, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Rebecca J Schmidt
    Public Health Sciences, University of California Davis, One Shields Ave, Davis, CA 95616, USA; rjschmidt{at}

Commentary on: Surén P, Roth C, Bresnahan M, et al. Association between maternal use of folic acid supplements and risk of autism spectrum disorders in children. JAMA 2013;309:570–7.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) prevalence is increasing. Maternal periconceptional folic acid intake was associated with reduced ASD risk in a large, population-based case–control study.1 Surén and colleagues examined whether maternal folic acid supplements were associated with reduced risk for ASD.


The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) included 85 176 children at least 3 years old born between 1999 and 2009. Questionnaire information on maternal supplement use was obtained around 18-week gestation.


The 270 MoBa children diagnosed with ASD included 114 with autistic disorder, 56 with Asperger syndrome and 100 with pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Of the 61 042 children whose mothers took folic acid from 6 weeks before to 6 weeks after conception, 64 (0.10%) had autistic disorder, …

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