Babies born to mothers who took
antidepressants early in their
pregnancy are approximately three
times more likely to develop autism.

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Water Contaminated With Prozac Might Link to Autism

Thursday, June 07, 2012

A new study published in the science journal PLoS ONE shows that fish exposed to psychiatric medications like antidepressant Prozac were found to have similar gene patterns to people with autism. Researchers involved with the study put two antidepressants (Prozac and Effexor) and antiseizure drug Tegratol into water tanks inhabited by minnows. Tests performed on the fish that were exposed revealed that genes similar to those in people with autism were triggered in the fish. The test results indicate that there might be a link between traces of these medications in the water supply and autism, as these drugs have already been associated with autism in studies performed on rats.

Concentrated amounts of antidepressants can make their way into the water supply from water treatment plants that process human waste. The molecules remain in the water and make their way downstream. Pregnant mothers then drink the water and can expose their unborn children to the drug.

"While others have envisioned a causal role for psychotropic drugs in idiopathic autism, we were astonished to find evidence that this might occur at very low dosages, such as those found in aquatic systems," said study author Michael Thomas, professor of evolutionary biology at Idaho State University in Pocatello. "My sincere hope is that this opens the door to a new question and allows people to look into that possibility."

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