Multiple fevers during pregnancy, especially during the second trimester, are associated with an elevated risk of autism, a new study finds.

What it could mean: While more research is necessary, the new research is consistent with a theory that external environmental factors (like infections and fevers) can trigger an immune response during pregnancy and affect fetal brain development.

The study: Researchers studied nearly 96,000 Norwegian children born between 1999 and 2009. Of that group, 15,701 were from mothers who'd had fevers during the pregnancy and, among this smaller group, 583 were later diagnosed with autism. What these numbers mean is that women who had one or two fevers during pregnancy were 40% (or 1.3 times) more likely to have a child who was later diagnosed with autism. Three or more fevers doubled the slightly elevated risk.

The context: The new research adds to a growing body of peer-reviewed science that indicates genetic and environmental factors are likely to influence the risk of autism well before children start to show signs of autistic behavior. It also comes at a time when the scientifically-discredited myth that vaccines cause autism has begun to gain a higher public profile. No credible studies have found such a link between autism and vaccines, which are administered right around the same time that signs of autism begin to appear in children.

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Justice Department sues Google over alleged search monopoly

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Justice Department and 11 states Tuesday filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing the company of using anticompetitive tactics to illegally monopolize the online search and search advertising markets.

Why it matters: The long-awaited suit is Washington's first major blow against the tech giants that many on both the right and left argue have grown too large and powerful. Still, this is just step one in what could be a lengthy and messy court battle.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 5 million infections.

In photos: Florida breaks record for in-person early voting

Voters wait in line at John F. Kennedy Public Library in Hialeah, Florida on Oct. 19. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP via Getty Images

More Floridians cast early ballots for the 2020 election on Monday than in the first day of in-person early voting in 2016, shattering the previous record by over 50,000 votes, Politico reports.

The big picture: Voters have already cast over 31 million ballots in early voting states as of Tuesday, per the U.S. Elections Project database by Michael McDonald, an elections expert at the University of Florida.

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