A new study from the University of Colorado sheds light on the development of autism and epilepsy.  Researchers there at examined the combination of pre-natal stress and the drug terbutaline in lab rats and found it may foster a higher risk for the development of autism and epilepsy.

Terbutaline is commonly used to delay labor.

Psychology professor Dan Barth, who lead the study, says the findings may cause pediatric neurologists to think twice about using it, particularly for a pregnant mother with elevated stress.

“It’s not only the drug of choice but it’s considered to be relatively innocent and not dangerous and they’ll think twice about that," Barth said, adding that risks from the combination of the drug plus stress is far greater than either one by itself.

The study appears in the Journal of Neuroscience.