Scientists from the University of Bristol have looked at all 14,500 participants in Children of the 90s and found that if a girl’s maternal grandmother smoked during pregnancy, the girl is 67 per cent more likely to display certain traits linked to autism, such as poor social communication skills and repetitive behaviours.
The team also found that if the maternal grandmother smoked, this increased by 53 per cent the risk of her grandchildren having a diagnosed autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
These discoveries suggest that if a female is exposed to cigarette smoke while she is still in the womb, it could affect the developing eggs – causing changes that may eventually affect the development of her own children. Further research is now needed to find out what these molecular changes might be, and to see whether the same associations are present in other groups of people.
Read more at the University of Bristol