Prenatal Acetaminophen Exposure Linked with Autism Spectrum Disorders


Your doctor may have recommended you take acetaminophen during pregnancy.

Your doctor may have recommended you give acetaminophen to your infant after vaccination or to bring down a fever.

Acetaminophen, the main ingredient in Tylenol, is one of the most commonly used over-the counter pharmaceuticals in America. It is used to relieve fever, pain, and other symptoms.

But new peer-reviewed science suggests these standard obstetric and pediatric recommendations may be causing harm.

This study, “Acetaminophen use in pregnancy and neurodevelopment: attention function and autism spectrum symptoms,” was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in June 2016. It explores the link between acetaminophen exposure to the fetus and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

This Spanish study may be the nail in the coffin for the use of this drug as at least two other large-scale Scandinavian studies have also shown acetaminophen has negative effects on the developing fetus.

Developing babies at higher risk from toxic exposure

When an egg is fertilized, a single cell produces the vast complexity of tissues and organs that become a baby. This process is highly susceptible to dangerous environmental toxins, which we doctors call teratogens, and which can cause miscarriage or significant congenital defects.

During the mid-twentieth century, a surge in birth defects resulting in missing limbs was directly related to the anti-nausea drug, thalidomide. Though thalidomide was never approved for use in the United States, another drug—diethylstilbestrol—was. Doctors told women this synthetic hormone was “safe during pregnancy” and obstetricians prescribed it to prevent miscarriage. Some doctors even prescribed it to make a healthy pregnancy healthier. Devastatingly, we learned later that children whose mothers took DES were later succumbing to aggressive vaginal, cervical, and testicular cancers once they hit their teens.

With the rise in environmental pollution and unsafe pharmaceuticals, the rise in congenital defects and neurological issues to children has also risen, as Dr. Philip Landrigan, M.D., notes in his work. It’s imperative to the health of our children that expectant parents understand and avoid any possible sources of teratogens.

Acetaminophen strongly linked to autism

In this new Spanish study, a team of researchers investigated the effects of acetaminophen exposure on fetuses for a period of five years. The study included 2,644 mother-child pairs, of whom 40% indicated using acetaminophen during their pregnancy.

Although the authors were limited by the memory of the mother’s on their acetaminophen consumption, particularly the amounts and frequency consumed, researchers discovered a dose dependent relationship between the amount of acetaminophen consumed and the onset of ASD and ADHD in children whose parents used acetaminophen.

It should be noted that the authors hired a psychiatrist to diagnose and evaluate each child in the study, taking in consideration the varieties of ADHD and ASD that may exist. This is crucial since many studies previously relied on questionnaires from the subjects and didn’t evaluate the variety of ASD and ADHD symptoms in the patients. At the same time, as the researchers noted, genetic variability and other possible confounding variables from other environmental sources were not investigated. Yet, the study did eliminate a large source of potential confounding from socioeconomic status in the population study. In general, the study showed that acetaminophen has a strong link to contributing to the onset of ASD and ADHD in children.

Pregnant? Throw your Tylenol in the trash

I tell the expectant families in my integrative pediatric practice that pharmaceuticals should be avoided as much as possible during pregnancy. Why? Because too many studies show that even very small amounts of ingested pharmaceuticals can pass to the developing fetus. The mother and baby are intimately connected during this period and great care must be taken to protect the fetus from potential hazards. Many, if not most, pharmaceuticals recommended by doctors or touted as safe during pregnancy have not actually been studied on fetuses or children (because it is considered medically unethical to conduct tests on pregnant women). These drugs must be treated with caution.

A colleague at Duke University’s Medical School, Dr. William Parker, Ph.D., who is an expert in immunology, has been conducting an exhaustive review of the scientific literature on acetaminophen. His best recommendation is to keep it far away from pregnant women and far away from children.

We still have much to learn in the medical community on the brain and the influence of drug’s on its complex circuitry but we have enough information now to say definitely that we must avoid acetaminophen during pregnancy and infancy.

Want to read more about tossing the Tylenol?

A helpful article on safer alternatives by Dr. Aviva Romm, M.D.
A helpful article on acetaminophen and autism by Dr. Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D.
A helpful article on immune disruption and acetaminophen-induced neurodevelopmental disorder by Dr. William Parker, Ph.D.

Jonathan Kopel, an M.D./Ph.D. candidate at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, contributed to this article.

PaulThomasDr. Paul Thomas, M.D., is a Dartmouth-trained pediatrician and a specialist in addiction medicine. He has over 13,000 children in his practice and over 196,000 subscribers on YouTube. His new book, The Vaccine-Friendly Plan, gives parents the information they need to help their children avoid toxins.



Dr. Paul has a great new book, “The Vaccine Friendly Plan, Dr/ Paul’s Safe and Book CoverEffective Approach to Immunity and Health- from Pregnancy Through Your Child’s Teen Years.” You can get your copy today here…

You can also follow Dr. Paul at the following social media sites!
The PaulThomasMD YouTube Channel
 Dr Paul

Join Dr. Thomas for the Autism Intensive Expert Interview Series!

Autism-Intensive-AllJanuary 10-18: The Autism Intensive

Why the Autism Intensive Summit?

Autism spectrum disorders are the fastest growing developmental disorder in the world today.

In the United States a child is diagnosed every 11 minutes. For the past three decades the rates have increased at an accelerating rate and are currently 1in 68 children; 1 in 48 boys and 1 in 189 girls are affected.

This is the first online Autism Summit. The compilation of experts across multiple disciplines with cutting edge and innovative therapies make this summit unique, with a comprehensive, inclusive, credible approach to a much-debated issue.

Learn from video interviews with Functional  Medicine visionaries and innovators that are experts in root cause resolution. 

Autism spectrum disorders are a complex chronic condition with a large variation in symptoms. The cause remains elusive. A series of scientific studies over the last decade document that the increase is a real and cannot be attributed to better diagnosis.

There is a need to think deeply and objectively about this disorder. We know that multiple body systems are impacted, including: brain, nervous, immune, gastrointestinal, oxidation/reduction, inflammation, and mitochondria

We have assembled an outstanding group of doctors, parents, clinicians, chiropractors, nutritionists, and researchers that can shed light on this complex chronic condition. Our experts discuss the environmental connection and share with you cutting edge information about what you can do to improve the health and well being of your child.

Learn the latest, most up to date information about autism spectrum disorders, including ADHD. Discover how early intervention and treatment, and life-long support can make a difference for individuals with autism and their families.

The real answers are likely not being offered by mainstream medicine. We have traveled the country to interview 35 respected and trustworthy practitioners. It can often seem like there’s no options and no one else to turn to, The Autism Intensive Summit will help you get to the root of dysfunction in you child by giving you information you need to address:

  • Diet, nutrition, supplements, neutraceuticals, pharmaceutical, helminth therapy, essential oils
  • Healing the leaky gut
  • How to detoxify/eliminate heavy metals and environmental pollutants in food, air and water.
  • Treating chronic infections.
  • Hear from parents how they have been able to make dramatic positive changes in their children.
  • Understand biochemical and physiological basis for efficacy of biomedical interventions
  • How to begin a comprehensive approach
  • Body oriented therapies

There are many reasons why we seeing an alarming increase in autism spectrum disorder, by sharing this information we can do something about it! Collectively we know enough to prevent and remediate autism spectrum disorders.

Join Dr. Thomas and Other Guest Speakers This Next Week For The Free Online Summit!

In-Person Interviews with Over 35 Functional Medicine Visionaries

Sign Up for Dr. Thomas’ Interview Here!

PaulThomasDr. Paul Thomas, M.D. is an award-winning Dartmouth-trained pediatrician with nearly 30 years of experience in pediatrics. In addition to being board certified in Pediatrics, he is an expert on addiction and board certified in Addiction Medicine. His practice, Integrative Pediatrics, serves some 11,000 children in Portland, Oregon. He is the co-author of the forthcoming book, The Vaccine-Friendly Plan: Dr. Paul’s Safe and Effective Approach to Immunity and Health—from Pregnancy through Your Child’s Teen Years (Ballantine 2016).


Ten Tips for Autism Spectrum

Autism2Below is the entire outline as it speaks for itself.  Most important for us all to remember, is that Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are just labels. If you had cancer you would not go around saying I am cancer or I have cancer.  We are individuals who are experiencing unique challenges to our neurotransmitters and chemistry. Many of us suffer from immune-mediated issues and gastro-intestinal issues, and frequently we experience severe anxiety and are very sensitive to noise or touch or sensory overload etc. This was pulled from the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and can be found here…


The article begins here-

Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Volume 53, Issue 11, Pages 1145–1146.e3, November 2014

Autism Spectrum Disorders: Ten Tips to Support Me

The recently revised American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder1 highlights the importance of clinicians maintaining an active role in family and individual support. Its evidence-based recommendations coincide with those of the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions, the European Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Autism Europe.2 In contrast, in Europe, there is a greater emphasis on an approach to children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder that is based on rights, participation, and quality. Inclusion Europe3 leads a campaign for making information easily understandable as an essential mechanism to foster citizen participation, ensure informed choice, and protect human rights.

Recognizing the complementary strengths in these approaches, my colleagues and I have produced a tool to empower stakeholders, guide caregivers, and provide a rationale for advocates. The document was originally produced by its author and then reviewed, edited, and formally endorsed by a self-support group of young persons with Asperger disorder and by the Board of Families from the Gipuzkoa Autistic Society, the largest autism community program in southern Europe.

It is hoped that this document, also accessible in Basque, French, and Spanish will become a framework for clinical practice and global advocacy.


Autism Spectrum Disorders: 10 Tips to Support Me

  • I am not “autistic.” I am first, foremost, and always a person, a student, a child, and I have autism. Do not confuse me with my condition. And, please, do not use the term in a negative or inconsiderate way. I deserve to be respected.
  • I am an individual. Having autism does not make me the same as other people with autism. Make an effort to know me as an individual, to understand my strengths, my weaknesses, and me. Ask me—and my friends and my family, if I cannot reply—about my dreams.
  • I deserve services, just like all children. Services for me begin early. Autism is—or it will be, when recognized—a public health issue in many countries of the world. There are instruments to screen it. They should be applied in the framework of screening for other developmental disabilities. If you start soon, my life will be different! And remember that about one quarter of my siblings will have autism or other problems. Help them; they are an important part of my life.
  • I belong in the health care system, just like all children. Include me in regular health care. The health care system should adapt to me, limiting waiting times and ensuring that I understand what is to be done, by using, for example, easy-to-read materials, pictograms, technologic means, and so forth. Other patients also will benefit.
  • I belong with other children. Do not separate me from them because you want to treat me, educate me, or care for me. I can, and I should, be placed in regular schools and regular community settings, and special support should be provided to me in those places. I have something to teach other children and something to learn from them.
  • I belong with my family. Plan with me for my future and my transitions. I am the one who should decide, and, when my ability to do so is limited, my family and friends will speak for me. No government agency can take the place of my family, and, please, make sure that our society values my family’s generosity when they support me on society’s behalf.
  • I deserve the right to evidence-based services. These may not be convenient or easy, but when I get them, I do better. Do not substitute my educational, health, and social support with medication. I may require medication, and I look forward to new developments in biological treatments, but you must be cautious in their use. Count on me for research ventures; get me involved, with all my rights protected. I also want to help others.
  • I belong in society. Engage me in vocational training. I want to contribute. The services I need during my adult life should be guided by self-determination, relationships, and inclusion in all the activities of my community. Your goal must be to adapt the environment I have to face and modify settings and attitudes. It also will make our society better.
  • I have human rights, and I face discrimination for many reasons. Many of us live in poverty with no community support system. Some of us are immigrants or minorities, including sexual minorities. Keep a gender perspective. Girls and women with autism are often at greater risk of violence, injury, or abuse.
  • I belong in the world. I have a role to play. We, and my legal representatives, want to be involved in policy making, its development, and its evaluation. You need my help to know what should be done. Empower me. Remember my motto: nothing about me, without me.


Dr. Paul


Autism, Genetics; New Study Shows Inflammation in Autism Brains is Universal

vaccine3The study, “Transcriptome analysis reveals dysregulation of innate immune response genes and neuronal activity-dependent genes in autism,” published in Nature 2014 (you can read it here… ) requires expert knowledge in genetics, and neuroimmunology to really understand. A few things are clear:

  • The microglia (brain cells that help the brain fight infection and pathogens and toxins) are perpetually ON for the autism brains
  • There is inflammation in autism brains
  • Authors feel the inflammation is unlikely the cause of autism
  • They demonstrate transcriptomic evidence for type1 interferon and M2-activation abnormalities in autism brains
  • They highlight thousands of genes and gene expression and gene regulation issues that have been identified to be associated with autism


It is clear by now that most cases of autism are not genetic in the sense that one genetic glitch or even several genetic glitches cause autism. It is also obvious that autism or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is a huge label that includes so many variations of presentation, severity, and symptoms to make the label almost meaningless for an individual. I can say I am autistic, and be a top scientist or intellectual and I could be autistic and be non-verbal and severely handicapped, unable to care for my own basic needs.

What we really should be focused on is what the cause of this epidemic is. 30 years ago, cases were so rare I didn’t see any full blown cases in all my medical training and pediatrics specialization training from 1981-1988. There were rare reported cases for certain, perhaps 1 in 10,000 children at that point having recognizable autism that included language delay, stimming (repetitive flapping or spinning), and lack of social connectedness.

We now in the USA have autism (ASD) at a rate of 1 in 50 to 1 in 100.  The rate in Norway published in 2013 was 1 in 500 to 1 in 1000. Why the difference? What are causes?

There is no doubt in my mind that the vast majority of cases are caused by environmental triggers with infections and toxins leading the list.

I have no doubt that some of us have genetic glitches that make us less able to rid our bodies of toxins.  The MTHFR mutation that I happen to carry is just one such glitch. If I grew up in America today, got all the childhood vaccines with all of their toxins, drank the municipal water with all the herbicides and pesticides, and slept on flame retardant mattresses and was surrounded by the BPA in my plastic bottles and microwave meals, not to mention the lack of nutrition in my processed and fast food world … I would be autistic, certainly not an MD and certainly would not have finished college.

This study’s authors point out that in contrast to M1-activated microglia, the M2 responses mediate anti-inflammatory responses to damage caused by viral infections. The “M2 microglia also secrete brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), increase the production of neural progenitor calls and promote myelination” (again read in this study… ). It is this data that supports the hypothesis that viral infection may be a cause of autism, and may explain why some autism brains are overgrown (large) and why they found this exaggerated M2 activation in autism brains.

The establishment that insists on denying any link between vaccines and autism needs to realize that until we have the prospective studies looking at populations that are fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated, and unvaccinated, compare them for risk factors (genetic, familial, and environmental), and follow them for 5-10 years, we just don’t know what is causing autism.  Until we can prove the cause, we certainly should be using the precautionary principle and not do anything that MIGHT be a cause.


So what should you do as a parent or parent to be?


  1. Do NOT trigger inflammation, especially while pregnant. Vaccines trigger inflammation. Avoid during pregnancy. Eat a low inflammatory diet.
  2. Do not give your newborn the Hepatitis B vaccine unless birth mom has Hepatitis B.
  3. Vaccinate slowly, carefully, and if you have one autistic child, are homozygous for MTHFR-C677T, or have a huge family history of autoimmune disorders, you may want to skip vaccines completely.  Obviously, some will choose to skip vaccines completely anyway (just be aware of the risks of that decision also).
  4. Eat organic GMO-free.
  5. Drink filtered water.
  6. This study sheds light on how the MMR vaccine might uniquely be a problem.  The MMR vaccine was changed around 1979-1985 to the MMR-II. (You can read more about that here… ) For details that would even scare your grandmother about what is in this vaccine and it’s side effects (this is even from the manufacturer Merck so no doubt minimizes risks) are provided in this document. (Read more about that here… )

Our autistic kids are the canaries in the coal mine, so to speak.  These were rare peeps in the wilderness just a few decades ago and we now have a thundering chorus of canaries.  Are you listening or have you had your ears tuned out by the noise of the status quo that stands to loose money if the real causes of autism are found?


Dr. Paul


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