A new study carried out by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) suggests that exposure to various metals may increase the likelihood of a child developing autism. Researchers reached their findings after studying the baby teeth of twins.
In this issue, we’ll talk about the study.
Why would they study baby teeth for exposure to metals?
“There is growing excitement about the potential of baby teeth as a rich record of a child’s early life exposure to both helpful and harmful factors in the environment,” said Dr. David Balshaw, head of the NIEHS Exposure, Response and Technology Branch.
Researchers examined baby teeth of 32 sets of twins and 12 individual twins. Specifically, the researchers wanted to determine if levels of metals such as lead connected to an increased risk of developing autism.
The researchers looked at patterns of metal in teeth in twins where just was autistic and in twins where both or neither had autism.
Precise layers of dentine, found beneath tooth enamel, were extracted by lasers.
Did autistic children have higher metal levels in their teeth?
Children with autism did show higher levels of lead throughout their development. The greatest difference was in the growth period following birth. The levels of lead were reliably higher from 10 weeks before birth to 20 weeks following birth in children with autism than those without.
Interestingly, children with autism showed a lower level of manganese, before and following birth. They also had lower zinc levels before birth than children without autism, but the levels rose following birth.
How could exposure to metals lead to autism?
“Unlike genes, our environment is constantly changing, and our body’s response to environmental stressors not only depends on just how much we were exposed to, but at what age we experienced that exposure,” said Dr. Manish Arora in an interview with ABC News. Arora is an environmental scientist and dentist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.
If you’re not sure why your child was diagnosed with autism, call The Fitzgerald Law Firm
The bottom line is that a cause for autism has not yet been discovered, but there does seem to be a link between certain environmental components and the development of autism.
If your child has been diagnosed with autism, and you’re not sure why, call us here at The Fitzgerald Law Firm. We’ll aggressively investigate your child’s situation, and advise you on possible opportunities for compensation.
For a free consultation, call us at 800-323-9900.