Study Links Antiepileptic Drugs During Pregnancy To Autism Development

A study published in the journal of Development Medicine & Child Neurology titled “Characteristics of fetal anticonvulsant syndrome associated autistic disorder” followed 626 children over a period of 20 years to determine if higher rates of autism and autism-specturm disorders may be indicated in children whose mothers took antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy (Source:Development Medicine & Child Neurology, Volume 47, Issue 8, pages 551-555, August 2005).

The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical features and frequency of autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome (AS) in children exposed to anticonvulsant medication in utero. During a 20-year study period, 626 children were born to mothers taking antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). The study examined long-term effects of prenatal exposure to AEDs in 260 children (122 males, 138 females).

Of these, 26 (16 males) were reported by parents to have social or behavioural difficulties. Eleven children (6 males, 5 females) fulfilled the DSM-IV criteria for autistic disorder and one (female) fulfilled the DSM-IV criteria for AS. These children comprised 4.6% of the exposed children studied, and 1.9% of all exposed children born during the study period. Mean age of these children at diagnosis was 5 years 4 months (SD 2y 11mo) and 9 years 10 months (SD 3y 10mo) at the time of this study.


Other children from the group of 26 had difficulties in areas of speech and language development and social communication but did not meet the criteria for an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Sodium valproate was the drug most commonly associated with autistic disorder, five of 56 (8.9%) of the study children exposed to sodium valproate alone had either autistic disorder or AS.

It was concluded that prenatal exposure to anticonvulsant medication is a risk factor for the development of an ASD. Fetal anticonvulsant syndrome associated autistic disorder is characterized by an even sex ratio, absence of regression or skill loss, and language delay in the absence of global delay

(Source:Development Medicine & Child Neurology, Volume 47, Issue 8, pages 551-555, August 2005).

Currently Depakote is the most widely prescribe antiepileptic medication in the United States and has been approved for treatment of epilepsy since 1983. Depakote tablets are a mixture of sodium valproate and valproic acid. As a result, Depakote has been widely linked to a number of serious birth defects and birth injuries.

Birth defects related to Depakote use by mothers during pregnancy include neural tube defects (spina bifida), craniofacial defects, skeletal disorders, hand and finger malformations, facial malformations, decreased mental facilites and fetal death.

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Depakote Birth Injury Resources (DBIR) provides information on Depakote birth defects and informational resources for mothers who may be entitled to legal compensation for Depakote side effect injuries in their child. Consult DBIR for qualified Depakote injury lawyers. Author: Faith Anderson

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The Training And Skills You Need To Become A Court Clerk

By Kenneth Echie

Courts process many hundreds and even thousands of documents every day in court cases, ranging from minor traffic tickets to murder. Some types of cases processed in the court system include traffic infractions, domestic disputes, small claims, personal injury claims, bankruptcies, and criminal charges ranging from minor misdemeanors to serious felonies. Court clerks play an essential role in the daily operations of all court systems, including municipal, county, state, and federal courts.

What is a Court Clerk?

A court clerk performs a variety of tasks in the everyday operations of a courthouse. A court clerk may provide face-to-face customer service in a clerk’s office, and take calls from people asking about court services, like how to file for divorce, for example. Court clerks often research and prepare copies of court documents, which sometimes involve looking at microfilm of very old court cases.

They take new cases for filing, and perform many other administrative and customer service tasks. The specifics of a court clerk’s job will vary depending on the jurisdiction of the particular court, but a court clerk always works in direct contact with people who need to navigate the court system.

What Skills and Knowledge Does a Court Clerk Need?


If you want to work as a court clerk, you’ll need a good combination of clerical, computer, and people skills. You must learn to adapt quickly to technology and use database programs specific to the court system that you will be working in. You will also need to be familiar with legal documents and legal terminology, and you must have the ability to keep cool under pressure.

A lot of the people you’ll come into contact with might be angry, upset, or confused about their involvement in the legal system. While this can make clerking a stressful job, it is also an exciting one, since you will get to see major court cases from the frontline.

What Kind of Training Does a Court Clerk Need?

In most cases, there is no formal education required to work as a court clerk. Even though a college degree isn’t strictly required, a certificate or associate degree will be helpful. Courts sometimes hire people who have general administrative and customer service experience, especially in smaller towns.

In larger court systems with a high volume of cases and more demanding customer service requirements, prior work in the legal field and extensive familiarity with legal terminology will probably be required. You can get relevant experience by working as a legal secretary, legal assistant, or file clerk.

How Will I Know if a Job as a Court Clerk is Right for Me?

A good way to see what a court clerk actually does is to simply visit your local courthouse and watch how things unfold at the clerk’s office. You are likely to see clerks behind the counter entering data, stamping documents, and answering customers’ questions.

If you enjoy working in a fast-paced environment with the opportunity to interact with a variety of different people, court clerking may be for you. If you keep calm under pressure, have good clerical and computer skills, and enjoy a job that focuses on customer service, organization, and multi-tasking, you have the skills to land a job as a court clerk.

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About the Author: Copywrite Kenneth Echie. Kenneth is a writer for Criminal Justice Schools. Get free scholarship report and learn to become a Court Clerk by visiting. Also see: Extra Income IdeasRefinance Debt


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