Research by Topic: Environment

Genes and Environment, Genes and Environment. Go together like aging and retirement

Published July 1, 2019 in ASF Podcast

Twins with autism, where either one or both is diagnosed, is crucial to understand the role of genetics and the environment to both autism diagnoses and now, autism traits.  In a study this week, researchers using data from the California Twins Study examined the genetic and environmental influences of brain development in multiple regions and […]

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What Happened This Year in Autism Research? A look back at 2018

Published January 5, 2019

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 […]

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Podcast: What is happening in research around employment for people with ASD?

Published August 13, 2018

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 […]

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New IAN article on epigenetics and autism

Published June 5, 2018

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 […]

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Webinar Recording: Environmental Epigenetics of Autism

Published March 14, 2017

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 […]

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Podcast: Who could have thought the genetics of autism was so complicated?

Published March 13, 2017

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. […]

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Children’s Health Exposure Analysis Resource now accepting requests for services

Published October 11, 2016

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 […]

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A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Multiple Airborne Pollutants and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Published September 22, 2016

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. […]

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Consensus of scientists: toxic chemicals hurt the developing brain

Published July 6, 2016

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 […]

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Highlights from the International Meeting for Autism Research

Published May 19, 2016

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 […]

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Everything you wanted to know about genomic imprinting but were afraid to ask

Published May 5, 2016

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 […]

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ASF co-hosts the 2nd environmental epigenetic of autism research webinar

Published March 7, 2016

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. […]

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You are invited to the 2nd environmental epigenetics of autism webinar.

Published February 10, 2016

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 […]

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Free Webinar on Interaction of Enviornment and Genetics in Autism: October 1st

Published September 25, 2015

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.

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

Published July 8, 2015 in Environmental Health Perspectives

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.

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ASF Podcast: New Research on the Source and Mechanism of Gene/Environment Interactions

Published April 20, 2015 in Autism Science Foundation

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.

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

Published 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.

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

Published January 8, 2015 in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

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.

Is maternal influenza or fever during pregnancy associated with autism or developmental delays?

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Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticides

Published June 23, 2014 in University of California-Davis

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.

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Researchers Discover a Potential Cause of Autism

Published August 28, 2013 in Natue

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.

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Autistic Children and Adults Find Calm in “Snoezelen” Room

Published August 27, 2013 in Tampa Bay Times

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.

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Perinatal Exposure to Air Pollutants May Increase Risk for ASD.

Published June 18, 2013 in Environmental Health Perspectives

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.

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

Published 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.

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

Published May 20, 2013 in Behavioral Neuroscience

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.

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Fetal and Sociocultural Environments and Autism

Published April 1, 2013 in American Journal of Psychiatry

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Traffic-Related Air Pollution, Particulate Matter, and Autism

Published November 27, 2012 in Archives of General Psychiatry (Now; JAMA Psychiatry)

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.

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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.

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PCBs Identified as Possible Environmental Risk Factor Contributing to Autism

Published July 12, 2012 in Environmental Health Perspectives

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.

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