Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Autism risk for developing children exposed to air pollution: Infant brain may be affected by air quality

Date:
November 26, 2012
Source:
University of Southern California - Health Sciences
Summary:
Scientists have demonstrated that polluted air -- whether regional pollution or coming from local traffic sources -- is associated with autism.

Research conducted by University of Southern California (USC) and Children's Hospital Los Angeles scientists demonstrates that polluted air -- whether regional pollution or coming from local traffic sources -- is associated with autism.

Related Articles


The study titled "Traffic Related Air Pollution, Particulate Matter, and Autism," shows that exposure to traffic-related air pollution during pregnancy and the first year of life is associated with a more than two-fold risk of autism. In addition, exposure to regional pollution consisting of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and small particles -- particulate matter less than 2.5 and 10 microns in diameter (PM2.5 and PM10) -- is also associated with autism even if the mother did not live near a busy road. The study is published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, a sister publication of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"This work has broad potential public health implications," said the study's principal investigator, Heather Volk, Ph.D., assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and investigator in the Division of Research on Children, Youth and Families at Keck School-affiliated Children's Hospital Los Angeles. "We've known for a long time that air pollution is bad for our lungs, and especially for children. We're now beginning to understand how air pollution may affect the brain."

The research is the first to look at the amount of near-roadway traffic pollution individuals were exposed to and combine that with measures of regional air quality. The study builds on previous research by Volk and colleagues that examined how close subjects lived to a freeway, said Volk, who also has appointments at the Keck School's Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute and Department of Pediatrics.

"We took into account how far away people lived from roads, meteorology such as which way the wind was blowing, how busy the road was, and other factors to study traffic-related pollution," she said. "We also examined data from air quality monitors, which measure pollution over a larger region that could come from traffic, industry, rail yards, or many other sources."

In the 2012 study, Volk and colleagues from USC and the University of California, Davis examined data on 279 autism cases and 245 control subjects enrolled in the California-based Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) study. Mothers' addresses from birth certificates and addresses reported from a residential history were used to estimate exposure during each trimester of pregnancy and the first year of life. The researchers used air pollution levels derived from the Environmental Protection Agency's Air Quality System to determine exposure to NO2, PM2.5, and PM10. They also applied dispersion models to estimate the amount of traffic the mothers and children were exposed to.

Particularly interesting was the effect of mothers' and children's exposure to particles, both PM10 and PM2.5. PM10 includes both coarse and fine particles, while PM2.5 includes only the smaller (fine) particles, which are most likely to have deleterious effects on the human body.

"From studies conducted in the lab, we know that we can breathe in tiny particles and they can produce inflammation," said Volk. "Particles have varied composition, and there are many chemicals that can bind to them. The components of these particles could be hazardous to the brain."

Other researchers who participated in the study include Irva Hertz-Picciotto, University of California, Davis; Rob McConnell from USC; and Fred Lurmann and Bryan Penfold from Sonoma Technology, Inc.

The research was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (grant 1 R21 ES019002-01).

Volk and colleagues are now at work on a study of how genes related to autism may be affected by environmental exposures to try to identify if there are factors that make people are genetically more vulnerable to particular pollutants.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southern California - Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Heather E. Volk et al. Traffic-Related Air Pollution, Particulate Matter, and AutismAir Pollution, Particulate Matter, and Autism. Archives of General Psychiatry, 2012; 1 DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.266

Cite This Page:

University of Southern California - Health Sciences. "Autism risk for developing children exposed to air pollution: Infant brain may be affected by air quality." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126164255.htm>.
University of Southern California - Health Sciences. (2012, November 26). Autism risk for developing children exposed to air pollution: Infant brain may be affected by air quality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126164255.htm
University of Southern California - Health Sciences. "Autism risk for developing children exposed to air pollution: Infant brain may be affected by air quality." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126164255.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Going Ape: Sierra Leone Chimpanzees Hail Ebola Retreat

Going Ape: Sierra Leone Chimpanzees Hail Ebola Retreat

AFP (Apr. 21, 2015) As money runs out at Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone, around 85 chimps are facing homelessness. The centre closed when the Ebola epidemic was ravaging the country but now that closure is beginning to look permanent. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Wild Weather Lashes Sydney Region

Wild Weather Lashes Sydney Region

AFP (Apr. 21, 2015) Sydney and surrounding areas are lashed by wild weather with trees felled, power cuts hitting thousands of homes and sand drifts sweeping inland off the iconic Bondi beach. Duration: 00:50 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2015) Five years on, the possible environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon spill includes a sustained die-off of bottlenose dolphins, among others. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pee-Power Toilet to Light Up Disaster Zones

Pee-Power Toilet to Light Up Disaster Zones

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 20, 2015) Students and staff are being asked to use a prototype urinal to &apos;donate&apos; urine to fuel microbial fuel cell (MFC) stacks that generate electricity to power lighting. The developers hope the pee-power technology will light toilet cubicles in refugee camps, where women are often at risk of assault in poorly lit sanitation areas. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins