Autism researchers have not kept up with the rapid increase in the condition's diagnoses in recent years, but Denmark scientists have announced a major finding that could impact Santa Clara County.
According to EverydayHealth.com, pregnant women taking the anti-seizure drug Valproate were five times more likely to have an autistic child than women not on the drug. Dr. Sanjay Gupta called the results "definitive."
The clusters, according to the Los Angeles Times, "are centered on ... areas with highly educated parents, primarily Caucasians, with high incomes."
According to the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California, about 140,000 people suffer from the seizure-causing condition in this half of the state. WebMD reported that Valproate is the "best first choice for generalized epilepsy," based on multiple clinical trials.
But Valproate is not just for those afflicted with epilepsy. People suffering from anorexia, bipolar disorder, PTSD and migraines are often prescribed the drug now proven to increase autism rates.
Other seizure drugs showed no linkage to autism, EverydayHealth.com reported.
While Valproate is certainly effective for its intended use, and Santa Clara County is not shown to have booming epileptic numbers, local prescription pill abuse is a massive problem. According to a report released by the White House in 2011, prescription pill abuse is the fastest-growing drug epidemic in the state, and Santa Clara County is considered a "high intensity drug trafficking area."
Check out the video above for more information on Valproate and its connection to autism.