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Maternal Dietary Patterns during Pregnancy and Child Autism-Related Traits: Results from Two US Cohorts

We examined the relationship between maternal intake of established dietary patterns and child autism-related outcomes in two prospective cohorts in the United States. Participants were drawn from the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI, n = 154) and the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII, n = 727). Dietary information was collected via food frequency questionnaires (FFQs) and used to calculate the empirical dietary inflammatory pattern (EDIP), Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), Western and Prudent dietary patterns, and the alternative Mediterranean Diet (aMED) score. Primary analyses examined associations with continuous autism-related traits as measured by the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), and secondary analyses with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis. We used crude and multivariable quantile regression fixed at the 50th percentile to examine associations between quartiles of dietary patterns and SRS scores, and logistic regression to examine associations with ASD diagnosis. There was suggestion of a positive association with the Western diet (Q4 vs. Q1, ß = 11.19, 95% CI: 3.30, 19.90) in EARLI, though the association was attenuated with adjustment for total energy intake, and no clear associations were observed with other dietary patterns and ASD diagnosis or SRS scores. Further work is needed to better understand the role of maternal dietary patterns in ASD and related outcomes.

Authors: Vecchione, Rachel; Wang, Siwen; Rando, Juliette; Chavarro, Jorge E; Croen, Lisa A; Fallin, M Daniele; Hertz-Picciotto, Irva; Newschaffer, Craig J; Schmidt, Rebecca J; Lyall, Kristen

Nutrients. 2022 Jun 30;14(13). Epub 2022-06-30.

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