Risk Factors

Neurobehavioural Effects of Developmental Toxicity

Source: 
The Lancet
Date Published: 
February 14, 2014
Abstract: 

Neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, and other cognitive impairments, affect millions of children worldwide, and some diagnoses seem to be increasing in frequency. A new study in The Lancet states that industrial chemicals that injure the developing brain are among the known causes for this rise in prevalence. Building on a 2006 study in which researchers identified five industrial chemicals as developmental neurotoxicants (lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, and toluene), epidemiological studies have documented six additional developmental neurotoxicants — manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers. To protect children from exposure to such harmful chemicals, researchers say that untested chemicals should not be presumed to be safe to brain development.

Epilepsy Drug Alters Rodent Gut

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
February 14, 2014
Abstract: 

In utero exposure to the epilepsy drug valproic acid (VPA), which ups the risk of autism, may alter the composition of gut bacteria in rodents, according a study published in Brain Behavior and Immunity. Rats and mice exposed to VPA in utero have social deficits, repetitive behaviors and anxiety, making them a good model for studying autism. It is unclear exactly how VPA exposure leads to these symptoms, however.

Study Links Autism and Somalis in Minneapolis

Source: 
New York Times
Date Published: 
December 16, 2013
Abstract: 

A long-awaited study has confirmed the fears of Somali residents in Minneapolis that their children suffer from higher rates of a disabling form of autism compared with other children there. The study — by the University of Minnesota, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the research and advocacy group Autism Speaks — found high rates of autism in two populations: About one Somali child in 32 and one white child in 36 in Minneapolis were on the autism spectrum. But the Somali children were less likely than the whites to be “high-functioning” and more likely to have I.Q.s below 70. (The average I.Q. score is 100.) The study offered no explanation of the statistics.

Babies Born to Women with Diabetes may be at Higher Risk for Autism

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Institute
Date Published: 
October 15, 2013
Abstract: 

Babies born to women with gestational diabetes tend to be large and go through spells of low blood sugar within their first few days of life. They may also be at an increased risk for autism, reports a study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. The study also found that the risk extends to children born to women who had diabetes prior to pregnancy.

Multinational Resource Combines Autism Risk Factors

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
August 5, 2013
Abstract: 

A new database compiles health data from seven countries, greatly expanding sample size for epidemiological autism studies. This project, the International Collaboration for Autism Registry Epidemiology (iCARE), combines data from 80,000 individuals diagnosed with autism from the years 1967 to 2009.

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.

Problematic Antibodies Affecting Brain Development During Pregnancy Could Help Explain 1/4 of Cases of Autism

Source: 
Translational Psychiatry
Date Published: 
July 9, 2013
Abstract: 

Antibodies found almost exclusively in mothers with children who have autism have a certain anitbody that may be affecting brain development during pregnancy. The same study says that these antibodies could account for nearly 1/4 of all cases of 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.

Advancing Maternal Age is Associated with an Increasing Risk for Autism: A Review and Meta-Analysis

Source: 
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Date Published: 
May, 2012
Abstract: 

The results of this meta-analysis support an association between advancing maternal age and risk of autism. The association persisted after the effects of paternal age and other potential confounders had been considered, supporting an independent relation between higher maternal age and autism.

Abnormal Placenta Folds Could Be Indicator of Autism

Source: 
Biological Psychiatry
Date Published: 
April 22, 2013
Abstract: 

This study suggests that the placentas from women whose fetuses are at elevated risk for autism are markedly different from control placentas. Specifically, the identification of an increase in folds in the placenta could be used to identify children at risk of being autistic.