In-Utero Exposure to Heavy Metals Linked to Autism and Atypical Neurodevelopment

January 01, 2024

Cadmium and Cesium Shown to Be Particularly Problematic to Development

Researchers from several American universities, including the MIND Institute, have recently measured maternal urinary metal levels during two different time points in pregnancy. The research team then examined the relationship between these levels and their influence on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or non-typical development in offspring at age 3. This study recruited mothers of children with clinically confirmed ASD who were early in a subsequent pregnancy or were trying to become pregnant. These mothers came from either the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI) or the Markers of Autism Risk in Babies Learning Early Signs (MARBLES) studies. After analyzing the data, the authors discovered that prenatal exposure to metals, especially cadmium, increased the risk of atypical neurodevelopment in offspring. The team also found that cesium exposure was related to atypical neurodevelopment, with consistency across ASD and non-typical development outcomes and time points. The study concluded that public health measures to reduce exposure to heavy metals during pregnancy could be an important preventative strategy for mitigating neurodevelopmental disorders in children. However, the authors also determined that more extensive longitudinal studies are needed to confirm their findings.

Original Study

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