Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – a developmental disability that causes serious social, behavioral and communication issues – is on the rise in the United States. In fact, rates of autism have increased by 1,000 percent since 1990. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about one in 68 children is now diagnosed with ASD. The disorder is prevalent among children of all socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds, but is 4.5 times more common among boys than girls. Desperate parents have been searching for answers to what triggers ASD for years. While scientists have been shifty about nailing down exactly what the causes of this disorder are, there is overwhelming evidence that vaccinations are at least partly to blame. Now, a new study published in the journal Nature Communications indicates that exposure to certain toxins as well as impaired uptake of certain minerals during late pregnancy and soon after birth are also contributing factors to the autism epidemic.
Scientists from The Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory and The Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai used evidence in baby teeth to determine how babies were affected by exposure to toxic elements like lead, and the beneficial essential elements manganese and zinc, during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy as well as in the early weeks after birth.
Lead is a potent neurotoxin, and according to the CDC, about six percent of all children under the age of five have toxic blood levels of this heavy metal. The developing nervous systems of children make them particularly vulnerable to the effects of lead.
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Manganese is a vital mineral found in leafy green vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds and whole grains, which the body uses to build strong bones. Zinc is essential for proper cell division, and can be found in large doses in nuts.
Baby teeth provide a similar record to trees, in that a new tooth layer is formed every week or so in the womb and in the early years of childhood. Each unique layer then provides a chronological record of exposure to micro chemicals. The research team was able to use lasers to reconstruct these past exposures and extrapolate data from them.
The scientists examined the levels of essential nutrients and toxic metals in the teeth of young twins. In some cases, both twins were neurodevelopmentally normal, while in other cases, one of the twins had been diagnosed with ASD while the other had not. The chronological records in the teeth of the healthy twins were compared with those where one of the twins had autism.
While scientists have long insisted that genes are the likely culprits when it comes to ASD, this study determined that environment has a serious role to play.
“Our findings underscore the importance of a collaborative effort between geneticists and environmental researchers for future investigations into the relationship between metal exposure and ASD to help us uncover the root causes of autism, and support the development of effective interventions and therapies,” said Abraham Reichenberg, Ph.D., of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Each toxin investigated affected the babies at different developmental stages, and the same was true of deficiencies in the uptake of essential minerals. The study reinforced earlier findings that fetal heavy metal exposure and impaired ability to absorb essential minerals are both associated with neurodevelopmental issues, including language problems, behavioral issues and attention deficit disorder.
This study is particularly interesting because the vaccines that parents have been insisting for years caused their children’s autism often contain heavy metals. The flu vaccine, for example, contains 25,000 times the mercury that the EPA deems safe for consumption in water. It’s not a stretch to imagine that if fetal and early childhood heavy metal exposure can cause autism, the heavy metals in vaccines also increase the risk. [RELATED: Discover where heavy metals are lurking at HeavyMetals.news]