Bugs during pregnancy linked to disorders like autism, ADHD

A new study shows that how a mother's immune system behaves while she is pregnant may affect development of a baby's brain. An allergic response could affect a baby's brain. This could impact the child’s vulnerability to psychiatric disorders. This includes autism, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Mother's immunity during pregnancy is critical

The study finds a link between two proteins released by a mother’s immune system during the third trimester of pregnancy. These proteins are linked to how a certain brain network develops in babies. This network is connected to the disorders.

Another study suggests that the activation of the mother’s immune system during pregnancy could influence mental health and developmental disorders, specifically autism. These studies add to the evidence linking immune response during flu or food poisoning in pregnancy to negative outcomes for the baby later in life.

How the immune response works

The immune system is like an army. When a virus or bacterium enters the body, it can lead to illness or fever. The immune system recognizes these danger signals and starts to attack back. This attack is known as the immune response and it works to get rid of threats.

In most cases, the immune response protects the body from illness. But the immune response can also be negative in some cases. Like in diabetes, sometimes immune molecules can attack the pancreas and reduce insulin-producing cells.

Some families report a long history of immune problems.If one can identify these signs, it would lead to better treatment.

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