Updated: August 18, 2018 07:27 IST
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Washington DC [USA] August 18 (ANI): A new study has shown that increased pesticide levels in pregnant women are associated with an increased risk of autism in their children.
Autism is a complex neurological disorder with largely unknown causes. It is characterized by problems with communication, difficulties related to people and events and repeated body movements or behaviors.
The study conducted at the American Psychiatric Association investigated whether increased maternal levels of persistent organic pollutants are associated with autism in children. Persistent organic pollutants are poisonous chemicals that adversely affect human health and the environment throughout the world.
The study examined levels of DDE (p, p & # 39; -dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethylene), a degradation product of the pesticide DDT (dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane). Although DDT and other persistent organic pollutants have been banned on a large scale decades ago in many countries, they persist in the food chain, resulting in continued exposure of the population. These chemicals move across the placenta, resulting in potential prenatal exposure in almost all children due to the existing maternal body load.
The researchers evaluated the DDE values in maternal serum samples from more than 750 children with autism and matched control subjects from a national birth cohort study, the Finnish prenatal study of autism. The risk of autism in children was significantly increased in mothers whose DDE levels were elevated (defined as the 75th percentile or more).
In addition, the likelihood that children with autism with intellectual disabilities had increased more than twofold with maternal DDE levels above this threshold. Although these results indicate an association, they do not prove a cause, although the findings persisted after correction for disruptive factors.
The study also evaluated levels of PCB & # 39; s of mothers (polychlorinated biphenyls), chemicals used in industry and found no association with autism in children.
The researchers concluded that their findings provide the first biomarker-based evidence that exposure of the mother to insecticides is associated with autism among offspring.
The findings appeared in the American Journal of Psychiatry. (ANI)