Prenatal exposure to lead, a toxic heavy metal, found to increase risk of autism

Prenatal exposure to lead, a toxic heavy metal, found to increase risk of autism
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With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) exposing that one out of every 68 children is affected by autism, scientists are dynamically looking to learn more about this confusing disorder. While genetic and environmental factors have long been explored as possible causes, a ground-breaking study that examined the makeup of baby teeth has exposed that premature exposure to lead, a toxic heavy metal, as well is linked with autism risk.

Researchers at the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory, working jointly with scientists from The Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai, revealed that the ingestion of toxic elements during the second and third trimester as well as during early postnatal periods was related to the progress of autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

When the scientist’s researched children’s baby teeth after they had fallen out as you would expect in childhood, they discovered that those with autism had elevated levels toxic lead and lower quantity of essential nutrients like zinc and manganese than the teeth of children who don’t have autism. Twins were also used for the study consecutively to manage genetic influences and keep the focus restrained to environmental factors.

Particularly, they discovered that the differences in heavy metal uptake between those with autism and those without it were particularly striking in the months directly previous to and subsequent the children’s birth. This was determined by mapping the growth rings that were shaped during different growth periods in the baby teeth with lasers. The metal uptake patterns were measured up to across teeth from 32 pairs of twins – in which only one, both or neither had autism – as well as 12 individual twins. They discovered smaller dissimilarities in metal uptake patterns in cases where both twins have autism and bigger dissimilarities in the cases where just one twin has autism.

Evidence grows of link between heavy metals and autism

These results hold up earlier conclusions that exposure to lead and other toxic metals are connected to autism behavior and severity. In the past, the team has exposed that the quantity of lead found in diverse dentine layers matches up to exposure to lead during different developmental periods. A new tooth layer is shaped approximately each week throughout fetal development as well as childhood, making them akin to “biological hard drives” that capture a slew of useful information.

While numerous studies have compared the present levels of lead in children who have previously been diagnosed with autism, this one sets itself separately by being able to calculate lead the kids were exposed to long before they ever received such a diagnosis. They exposed, for example, that the number of toxic metals in a child’s tooth three months after birth could even forecast their ASD severity at 8 to 10 years of age.

The scientists were capable of recognizing time periods when children are most susceptible in terms of their levels of explicit metals and nutrients. For instance, levels of lead were constantly higher from around ten weeks before birth to 20 weeks after birth in those with ASD, with the maximum difference being noted at 15 weeks after birth when levels of lead were 1.5 times higher in those with ASD than their twin without it. When it comes to manganese, the maximum difference was evidenced at 15 weeks, when levels were 2.5 times lower in those with ASD.

This revolutionary baby tooth analysis could, in addition, be used to discover disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). For the time being, nevertheless, the researchers say that more studies are required to obtain a clearer idea of how environmental toxins, nutrients, and genes cooperate in the development of autism. Heavy metals are more and more being singled out as a guilty party, with the latest study showing that kids who get vaccines – which typically contain heavy metals – have a 420 percent higher risk of developing autism and ADHD than their non-vaccinated peers.

Sources:
ScienceDaily.com AutismSpeaks.org NIH.gov DailyMail.co.uk ABCNews.go.com
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