A common vitamin supplement appears to dramatically reduce a woman's risk of having a child with autism.
A study of more than 85,000 women in Norway found that those who started taking folic acid before getting pregnant were about 40 percent less likely to have a child who developed the disorder, researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"That's a huge effect," says Ian Lipkin, one of the study's authors and a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.
Folic acid is the synthetic version of a B vitamin called folate. It's found naturally in foods such as spinach, black-eyed peas and rice. Public health officials recommend that women who may become pregnant take at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day to reduce the chance of having a child with spina bifida.
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