Saturday, May 4, 2013

Autism Linked to Environmental Factors

SAN SEBASTIÁN, Spain—Researchers at an international conference on autism Friday presented three new studies lending strength to the notion that environmental influences before birth play a role in the risk for the condition.

In one study, pregnant women who were exposed to certain levels of air pollution were at increased
risk of having a child with autism. Another presentation suggested that iron supplements before and early in pregnancy may lower the risk, and a third suggested some association between use of various household insecticides and a higher risk of autism.

The causes of autism, a developmental disorder that involves social-skill problems, among other symptoms, aren't well understood but are thought to be multifaceted. Genetics likely account for about 35% to 60% of the risk, many researchers say. But some experts and parents believe that nutrition and other environmental factors may also play a role, especially as the rate of autism in the U.S. appears to have climbed sharply over the past decade.
Read the whole story at the Wall Street Journal

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