Environmental contributions to autism: explaining the rise in incidence of autistic spectrum disorders

Scott, James G., Duhig, Michael, Hamlyn, Jess and Norman, Rosana (2013) Environmental contributions to autism: explaining the rise in incidence of autistic spectrum disorders. Journal of Environmental Immunology and Toxicology, 1 2: 75-79. doi:10.7178/jeit.7

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Author Scott, James G.
Duhig, Michael
Hamlyn, Jess
Norman, Rosana
Title Environmental contributions to autism: explaining the rise in incidence of autistic spectrum disorders
Journal name Journal of Environmental Immunology and Toxicology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2225-1219
Publication date 2013-05
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.7178/jeit.7
Volume 1
Issue 2
Start page 75
End page 79
Total pages 5
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA, USA
Publisher STM Connect
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The incidence of autism spectrum disorders, a heterogenous group of neurodevelopmental disorders is increasing. In response, there has been a concerted effort by researchers to identify environmental risk factors that explain the epidemiological changes seen with autism. Advanced parental age, maternal migrant status, maternal gestational stress, pregnancy and birth complications, maternal obesity and gestational diabetes, maternal vitamin D deficiency, use of antidepressants during gestation and exposure to organochlorine pesticides during pregnancy are all associated with an increased risk of autism. Folic acid use prior to pregnancy may reduce the risk of autism. Exposure to antenatal ultrasonography, maternal gestational cigarette and alcohol use do not appear to influence the risk of autism in offspring. There is little evidence that exposure to environmental toxins such as thimerosal, polybrominated diphenyl ethers and di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate in early childhood increases the risk of autism. Apart from birth complications, the current evidence suggests that the majority of environmental factors increasing the risk of autism occur in the antenatal period. Consistent with the rise in incidence in autism, some of these environmental factors are now more common in developed nations. Further research is required to determine how these environmental exposures translate to an increased risk of autism. Understanding how these exposures alter neurodevelopment in autistic children may inform both the aetiopathogenesis and the strategies for prevention of autism.
Keyword Autism
Autism spectrum disorder
Environment
Risk factors
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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Created: Tue, 19 Nov 2013, 09:51:35 EST by Michael Duhig on behalf of UQ Centre for Clinical Research