Nov 15, 2014
Posted by Seb in category: biotech/medical
by Arjun Walia — Collective Evolution
The cause of autism is still unknown, but we are definitely closer to figuring it out. A new study published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology, from researchers at the University of Chicago revealed that autism and intellectual disability (ID) rates are linked with exposure to harmful environmental factors during congenital development.
“Essentially what happens is during pregnancy… there are certain sensitive periods where the fetus is very vulnerable to a range of small molecules – from things like plasticisers, prescription drugs, environmental pesticides and other things. Some of these small molecules essentially alter normal development. Autism appears to be strongly correlated with rate of congenital malformations of the genitals in males across the country, this gives an indicator of environmental load and the effect is surprisingly strong. The strongest predictors for autism were associated with the environment; congenital malformations on the reproductive system in males.” (1) - Andrey Rzhetsky, professor of genetic medicine and human genetics at the University of Chicago