- About ASF
- What is Autism?
- How Common is Autism?
- Early Signs of Autism
- Autism Diagnosis
- Following a Diagnosis
- Treatment Options
- Beware of Non-Evidence-Based Treatments
- Autism and Vaccines
- Autism Science
- Quick Facts About Autism
- What We Fund
- Autism Sisters Project
- Baby Siblings Research Consortium
- Resources for Grantees
- Funding Calendar
- ASF Funded Research
- ASF Supported Findings
- Apply for a Fellowship
- Apply for a Research Accelerator Grant
- Apply for an Undergraduate Summer Research Grant
- Get Involved
- Day of Learning
- Year End Summaries
- Contact Us
Research by Topic: Environment
This year, more than before, scientists were able to show that autism is a spectrum within a spectrum of other neuropsychiatric issues. There are similarities across diagnoses, and genetic profiles of those with autism, ADHD, OCD, bipolar depression and schizophrenia. There were also major accomplishments in understanding the role of the environment, behavioral and pharmacological […]
On this week’s podcast, Melissa Scott of Curtin University discusses findings from the first paper out of Curtin’s collaboration with ASF, Stony Brook University, and Karolinska Institutet on an international policy brief on employment for people with autism. Based on a scoping review of existing research on employment practices, the environment was one crucial element […]
The Interactive Autism Network published an article explaining the latest epigenetics research in autism. It highlights how environmental factors, both internal and external, affect genes and influence an individual’s development. Including findings made from Autism BrainNet tissue resources, research is demonstrating how epigenetics may play a role in the development and severity of autism. Read […]
Hear the latest Environmental Epigenetics of Autism Webinar: Dr. Mark Zylka presents recent data from his lab using animal models with genetic modifications to understand how common environmental factors we might be exposed to affect genetic expression. Dr. Valerie Hu from George Washington University comments and provides perspective from her work on a gene involved […]
On Monday, the much anticipated MSSNG study which analyzed the entire DNA sequence of over 5000 people with autism was published. The press release can be found here. In it, the researchers found even more genes of interest to autism. Also, those with more of a specific type of mutation, copy number variations, had worse autism symptoms. […]
The Children’s Health Exposure Analysis Resource (CHEAR) is now accepting requests for services. CHEAR is a program funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences “to advance understanding about how the environment impacts children’s health and development.” The cutoff date for requesting CHEAR services for the Round 1 Review Cycle is this Friday, October 14, 2016. You […]
A new systematic review evaluated and organized existing scientific studies on the question of whether or not there was a relationship between air pollution and autism. After considering strengths and limitations of the body of research, the authors concluded that there is limited evidence between exposure to air pollution as a whole and ASD diagnosis. […]
In a landmark alliance, known as Project TENDR, leaders of various disciplines have come together in a consensus statement to say that many of the chemicals found in everyday products can result in neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism and attention-deficit disorders. ASF Chief Science Officer Alycia Halladay will be answering questions on a live chat over Facebook […]
Last week, over 2000 autism researchers convened in Baltimore, Maryland for the largest meeting in the world dedicated to sharing the latest information in autism research. This week’s podcast summarizes some of the meeting, with help from the ASF travel awardees. The topics ranged from causes (genetic and environmental) to interventions in real-world settings to […]
In the 3rd Environmental Epigenetics webinar co-organized by ASF, AS and the Escher Fund for Autism, Dr. Christopher Gregg from University of Utah describes genomic imprinting. This is an epigenetic process where in certain genes, one copy inherited from either the mother or the father is silenced, so only the other is expressed. Imprinting is […]
On Thursday, ASF, the Escher Fund for Autism and Autism Speaks co-organized the second in a series of webinars on environmental epigenetics. These webinars are open to the public and provide discussions on the role of gene/environment interactions in autism led by leading researchers in the field. This month, the presentations were given by Dr. […]
On March 3rd, Autism Science Foundation, Escher Fund for Autism and Autism Speaks and the are partnering to bring the community a set of presentations and commentary on how environmental exposures may affect gene expression. Dana Dolinoy from U. Michigan and Carol Yauk from Health Canad will both explain how the environment could influence genetic risk factors […]
All are invited to the first in an ongoing series of free online symposia on the environmental epigenetics of autism, Oct. 1st at 1 pm Eastern. Speakers will include cell biologist Amander Clark, of UCLA, and geneticist Ryan Yuen, of Torontos SickKids Hospital.
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.
Two separate studies published last week independently add to the body of evidence showing that genes and environment, together, are important to study risk factors in autism. The first is a study looking at the risk of autism in mothers who had diabetes and the other is an analysis of epigenetic markers from dads of kids with autism. While they tackle two different angles, they have a common thread: factors or mechanisms of the combined effects of genes/environment in ASD.
Neuronal Connectivity as a Convergent Target of Gene-environment Interactions that Confer Risk for Autism Spectrum DisordersPublished March 8, 2015 in Neurotoxicology and Teratology
This review briefly summarizes the evidence implicating dysfunctional signaling via Ca2 +-dependent mechanisms, extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK)/phosphatidylinositol-3-kinases (PI3K) and neuroliginneurexinSHANK 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.
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.
A study out of the University of California Davis found that women who live near farmland where pesticides are applied are 60 percent more likely to give birth to a child with autism or other developmental delays. In the study, the association was stronger for women exposed during their second or third trimester. The study looked at three categories of pesticides: organophosphates, pyrethroids and carbamates; all three were found to have associations with ASD or other developmental delays.
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.
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.
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.
A Research Strategy to Discover the Environmental Causes of Autism and Neurodevelopmental DisabilitiesPublished June 7, 2013 in Environmental Health Perspectives
To begin formulation of a systematic strategy for discovery of potentially preventable environmental causes of autism and other NDDs, the Mount Sinai Childrens 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.
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.
Researchers uncover a connection between exposure to traffic-related pollutants and autism risk. Findings suggest children living in high pollution areas are three times more likely to have autism compared to those living in low pollution areas.
Levels of Select PCB and PBDE Congeners in Human Postmortem Brain Reveal Possible Environmental Involvement in 15q11-q13 Duplication Autism Spectrum Disorder.Published August 29, 2012 in Environmental and Molecular Genetics
These results demonstrate a novel paradigm by which specific POPs may predispose to genetic copy number variation of 15q11-q13.
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.