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Comment & Response
February 2014

Induction or Augmentation of Labor and Autism—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 2Children’s Environmental Health Initiative, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 3Center for Human Genetics, Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina
  • 4Duke Institute of Molecular Physiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina
JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(2):191-192. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4792

In Reply We recently published a study demonstrating an association between labor induction/augmentation and later diagnosis of autism.1 Letter writers expressed concern about overinterpretation of study findings that may inappropriately influence delivery room practice. In the article, the associated press release, and all media interviews, we relayed a very conservative message emphasizing the distinction between association and causation and clearly stated that the work did not call for any change in obstetric practice. The potential for overinterpretation of scientific research by the press and lay public should not preclude publication of thoughtful scientific investigation. Research is an iterative process. Initial studies highlight directions for future research, the body of evidence grows, and health drivers are clarified.

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