Environment

Researchers Discover a Potential Cause of Autism

Source: 
Natue
Date Published: 
August 28, 2013
Abstract: 

Researchers at UNC have discovered that problems with a key group of enzymes known as topoisomerases can have profound effects on the genetic machinery behind brain development and potentially lead to autism spectrum disorder. Researchers believe this finding represents a great step forward in the search for environmental factors behind autism.

Information on this study at UNC can be found at
http://news.unchealthcare.org/news/2013/august/researchers-discover-a-potential-cause-of-autism

Autistic Children and Adults Find Calm in "Snoezelen" Room

Source: 
Tampa Bay Times
Date Published: 
August 27, 2013
Abstract: 

A multisensory room, known as the Snoezelen room, in an Autism Behavioral Center in St. Petersburg, FL is helping individuals with developmental disabilities by allowing them to regulate how much sensory stimulation they experience while in the room. The light up ball pit, patterns of light projected on the wall, and other forms of sensory stimulation are all controlled by a remote given to the individual. There are 1,200 rooms like this in the United States providing a calming experience for people with autism by giving them an escape from an overstimulating world.

Is Maternal Influenza or Fever During Pregnancy Associated with Autism or Developmental Delays?

Source: 
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Date Published: 
January, 2013
Abstract: 

Though neither ASD nor DD was associated with influenza, both were associated with maternal fever during pregnancy. However, the fever-associated ASD risk was attenuated among mothers who reported taking antipyretic medications but remained elevated for those who did not.

Perinatal Exposure to Air Pollutants May Increase Risk for ASD.

Source: 
Environmental Health Perspectives
Date Published: 
June 18, 2013
Abstract: 

Study finds correlation that suggests that women who are exposed to high levels of air pollution during pregnancy have a higher chance of having a child with autism.

PCBs Identified as Possible Environmental Risk Factor Contributing to Autism

Source: 
Environmental Health Perspectives
Date Published: 
July 12, 2012
Abstract: 

Study identifies Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB), which are widely used as dielectric and coolant fluids, as a candidate environmental risk factor for neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism.

Neuronal Connectivity as a Convergent Target of Gene-environment Interactions that Confer Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Neurotoxicology and Teratology
Date Published: 
March, 2013
Abstract: 

This review briefly summarizes the evidence implicating dysfunctional signaling via Ca2 +-dependent mechanisms, extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK)/phosphatidylinositol-3-kinases (PI3K) and neuroligin–neurexin–SHANK as convergent molecular mechanisms in ASD, and then discusses examples of environmental chemicals for which there is emerging evidence of their potential to interfere with normal neuronal connectivity via perturbation of these signaling pathways.

Tipping the Balance of Autism Risk: Potential Mechanisms Linking Pesticides and Autism

Source: 
Environmental Health Perspectives
Date Published: 
July, 2012
Abstract: 

On the basis of experimental and observational research, certain pesticides may be capable of inducing core features of autism, but little is known about the timing or dose, or which of various mechanisms is sufficient to induce this condition.

Levels of Select PCB and PBDE Congeners in Human Postmortem Brain Reveal Possible Environmental Involvement in 15q11-q13 Duplication Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Source: 
Environmental and Molecular Genetics
Date Published: 
August 29, 2012
Abstract: 

These results demonstrate a novel paradigm by which specific POPs may predispose to genetic copy number variation of 15q11-q13.

A Research Strategy to Discover the Environmental Causes of Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities

Source: 
Environmental Health Perspectives
Abstract: 

To begin formulation of a systematic strategy for discovery of potentially preventable environmental causes of autism and other NDDs, the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center convened a workshop on “Exploring the Environmental Causes of Autism and Learning Disabilities.” This workshop produced a series of papers by leading researchers and generated a list of 10 chemicals and mixtures widely distributed in the environment that are already suspected of causing developmental neurotoxicity.

Environmental Enrichment as an Effective Treatment for Autism: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Source: 
Behavioral Neuroscience
Date Published: 
May 20, 2013
Abstract: 

Researchers at University of California Irvine conducted a randomized controlled trial of sensorimotor enrichment in young boys with ASD. Behavioral and cognitive improvements in the children who received sensorimotor therapy suggest that it may be a promising treatment for ASD symptoms. The group is now conducting a larger trial that includes girls.