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Autism from epilepsy drug can be passed on to three generations

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UK MP Norman Lamb, who is campaigning to have the families properly compensated, has described the drug as “an extraordinary scandal”.

The drug, which was introduced in the UK in the 1970s, can cause physical abnormalities, as well as autism and learning difficulties, and women with epilepsy shouldn’t be taking the drug while they’re pregnant, although many who have been affected by the drug claim they weren’t made aware of the dangers.

A new study has discovered that the harm caused by the drug can be passed on to future generations. Scientists at Konkuk University in South Korea carried out the study on mice, and have postulated that children of people harmed by the drug are more likely to suffer from autism, seizures and hyperactivity – and these problems are passed to the second and third generations.

They believe that sodium valproate is another factor to explain the alarming rise of autism cases; autism affects one in 68 children in the US alone, a rate that represents a hundred-fold increase in just 10 years.

(Sources: BBC, January 22, 2018; Scientific Reports, 6:36250/doi: 10.1038/srep36250)

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