Scientists have suggested that taking certain types of anti-depressants during pregnancy could lead to the child being born with autism.

The researchers at the University of Mississippi Medical Centre and the University of California found that the use of anti-depressants called SSRIs could influence brain development, having carried out tests on rats.

Co-author Dr Kimberly Simpson, from UMMC, said: "These results demonstrate that rat pups, when exposed around birth to SSRIs, exhibit behavioural traits often seen in ASD." 

Rats treated with the drug during a crucial part of their brain development were uninterested in playing and found it difficult to interact with adult rats, compared to those in the control group.

The scientists now hope to conduct more research to verify the link and establish whether the same issue would affect humans using the drug.

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For more information visit www.umc.edu 

Posted October 27 2011 at 1100 by Rob Mair.