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Putting the Pieces Together 
Serving the ASD Community since 1977


Spectrum of Ideas

Blog, New research, Helpful materials, Your Sharing and more
"Spectrum of Ideas", is a place where ideas may be exchanged 
in the spirit of respect, acceptance and enthusiasm for our diversity.

Here Michelle will post opinions, share new research studies and philosophical musings and relate stories  related to autism to get the exchange going.  She will also present practical ideas and materials for use by educators, parents  and those who work and live with individuals with an ASD as well as by the individuals with an ASD to enrich their education, employment and living experiences. 

Michelle welcomes the sharing of the same from any and all readers.  Link to the blog to share by clicking on the underlined article titles.

AUGUST 22, 2018

This info fits with my long time theory that the Autism Spectrum Epidemic is caused by DNA damage, caused by environmental toxins, accumulated across multiple generations. - Michelle  

DDT Metabolite in Pregnant Women Linked to Autism in Kids By Janice Wood https://psychcentral.com/…/ddt-metabolite-in-pr…/137955.html 
Elevated levels of a metabolite of the banned insecticide DDT in the blood of pregnant women have been linked to an increased risk for autism in children, according to new research.

The study of more than 1 million pregnancies in Finland is the first to connect an insecticide with risk for autism using maternal biomarkers of exposure, according to an international research team led by scientists at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Department of Psychiatry.

Researchers identified 778 cases of childhood autism among children born from 1987 to 2005 to women enrolled in the Finnish Maternity Cohort, which represents 98 percent of pregnant women in Finland.

The researchers matched these mother-child pairs with mothers and children who did not have autism.
Maternal blood taken during early pregnancy was analyzed for DDE, a metabolite of DDT, and PCBs, another class of environmental pollutants, the researchers explained.
The researchers discovered that the odds of autism with intellectual disability in children were increased by greater than twofold for mothers whose DDE levels were in the top quartile (top 25%). For the overall sample of autism cases, the odds were nearly one-third higher among children exposed to elevated maternal DDE levels.

The findings persisted after adjusting for several confounding factors, such as maternal age and psychiatric history, the researchers noted.

The researchers also discovered that there was no association between maternal PCBs and autism.
While DDT and PCBs were widely banned in many nations over 30 years ago, including the U.S. and Finland, they persist in the food chain because their breakdown occurs very slowly — as long as several decades — resulting in continuing exposure to populations, the researchers explain. These chemicals are transferred across the placenta in concentrations greater than those seen in the mother’s blood, the scientists add.

“We think of these chemicals in the past tense, relegated to a long-gone era of dangerous 20th Century toxins,” said lead author Alan S. Brown, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center.
“Unfortunately, they are still present in the environment and are in our blood and tissues. In pregnant women, they are passed along to the developing fetus. Along with genetic and other environmental factors, our findings suggest that prenatal exposure to the DDT toxin may be a trigger for autism.”
The researchers offer two reasons for their observation that maternal exposure to DDE was related to autism while maternal PCB exposure was not.

First, maternal DDE is associated with low birth weight, a well-replicated risk factor for autism. In contrast, maternal PCB exposure has not been related to low birth weight.

Second, they point to androgen receptor binding, a process key to neurodevelopment. A study in rats found DDE inhibits androgen receptor binding, an outcome also seen in a rat model of autism. In contrast, PCBs increase androgen receptor transcription, the researchers note.

The study was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Source: Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health

------Original Study------------------------------------------------------
Association of Maternal Insecticide Levels With Autism in Offspring From a National Birth Cohort
https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/…/1…/appi.ajp.2018.17101129 (need to pay to read full study online)
Abstract
Objective:
Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder with a largely unknown etiology. To date, few studies have investigated prenatal exposure to toxins and risk of autism by using maternal biomarkers of exposure. Persistent organic pollutants are lipophilic halogenated organic compounds and include the insecticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), as well as its metabolite p,p′-dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethylene (p,p′-DDE), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The objective of this study was to test whether elevated maternal levels of persistent organic pollutants are associated with autism among offspring.

Method:
The investigation was derived from the Finnish Prenatal Study of Autism, a national birth cohort study based on a nested case-control design. Cases of autism among children born between 1987 and 2005 were ascertained by national registry linkages. In cases of childhood autism and matched control subjects (778 matched case-control pairs), maternal serum specimens from early pregnancy were assayed for levels of p,p′-DDE and total levels of PCBs.

Results:
The odds of autism among offspring were significantly increased with maternal p,p′-DDE levels that were in the highest 75th percentile, with adjustment for maternal age, parity, and history of psychiatric disorders (odds ratio=1.32, 95% CI=1.02, 1.71). The odds of autism with intellectual disability were increased by greater than twofold with maternal p,p′-DDE levels above this threshold (odds ratio=2.21, 95% CI=1.32, 3.69). There was no association between total levels of maternal PCBs and autism.

Conclusions:
These findings provide the first biomarker-based evidence that maternal exposure to insecticides is associated with autism among offspring. Although further research is necessary to replicate this finding, this study has implications for the prevention of autism and may provide a better understanding of its pathogenesis.
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Another version is found at https://www.mailman.columbia.edu/…/first-biomarker-evidence…

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