Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Your Stimulus $'s at Work: Autism and The Environment Studies

Chemical structure of PBDEsImage via Wikipedia
Your Stimulus Dollars at Work!  The stimulus package provides for the following:
  • Examine whether air pollution due to traffic, a common environmental exposure, increases risk for ASD.  This study will also look at genes that process pollutants in the body to determine if they are different in children with and without autism, and to see if these genes interact with air pollution to increase autism risk.4
  • Determine whether polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs), widespread and persistent industrial pollutants that may interfere with the actions of hormones, are found at higher levels in samples from newborns later diagnosed with autism, compared to samples from newborns that develop normally.5Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs). PFOS and PFOA are breakdown products of a number of PFCs.  PFOS and PFOA's are found in Teflon and in ScotchGuard.
  • Analyze several classes of chemicals found at increasing concentrations in the environment that have never been examined in relation to autism -- pyrethroid pesticides, flame retardants (PBDEs: polybrominated diphenyl ethers), and plasticizers (BPA: bisphenol A phthalates). This study will expand exposure analysis of an existing autism study by adding collection and analysis of household dust and a food frequency questionnaire.6
  • Identify genes whose effects on autism spectrum disorder may vary depending upon the mother’s exposures during pregnancy (smoking and alcohol use, medication, infection) using data obtained on 500 autism cases and controls through the Study to Explore Early Development (SEED), a large epidemiologic investigation of autism

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