Neurodevelopmental Regression and Early Life Metal Exposure

September 02, 2020

Study Looking at Baby Teeth Sheds Light on a Subtype of Autism

Children who lose previously acquired developmental skills or milestones can be classified as experiencing a neurodevelopmental regression (NDR). About one-third of children who hold an autism diagnosis fit the NDR subtype model. A team of scientists from the University of Arizona recently studied the origins of NDR. By using deciduous (baby) teeth to examine nutritional and toxic metal exposures in the prenatal and early postnatal periods, the researchers found that many children with autism and NDR were exposed to metals through maternal diet and air pollution. The team theorized that these metal exposures caused a variation in bioenergetic metabolism in the infants resulting in mitochondrial problems. Abnormalities in mitochondrial metabolism can cause long lasting damage and are suspected to be associated with neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. The study’s authors suggest that mothers monitor and avoid metal exposures for optimum health and development for their growing fetus.

Original Study

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