Pollution Study Correlates to ASD Possibilities

There has been plenty of speculation and studies looking at the factors that a mother’s health can influence the possibility of her child having Autism, such as diabetes or lack of amino acids. Studies have now began to examine natural factors that could contribute to the possibility of Autism, such as the environment the mother is in before, during, and after her pregnancy.

Pollution has always been viewed as an environmental issue, but research has also proved that it is a medical issue as well. A nested case-control study by Harvard University took place in 2014, focusing on the Nurses’ Health Study II, a group of over 100,000 female nurses, to see how particulate matter could affect the possibility of a woman giving birth to a child on the Autism spectrum.

The case participants were children of the nurses born between 1990 and 2002. The consisted of 245 children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and 1,522 without ASD, selected randomly based off of their birth years. The factors that the participants were questioned about were the diameter of monthly averages of pollution they were exposed to before, during, and after their birth.

The study concluded that despite weak evidence of a particulate matter greater than 2.5 effected the possibility of ASD before an after a pregnancy, a PM of 2.5 or more increased the odds of having a child on the Autism spectrum during the mother’s 9 months of pregnancy, especially during the third trimester.

A more recent study on this topic was done by the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health. The study was a case control study, as well as population-based, focusing on children living in southwestern Pennsylvania. Pollution exposure for offspring was calculated based off of where the mothers lived before, during, and after their pregnancy.

The study was funded by Heinz Endowments, and Grant Oliphant, the president, said, “ This is increasing and compelling evidence that points to associations between Pittsburgh’s poor air quality and health problems, especially those affecting our children and including issues such as autism spectrum disorder and asthma.”

By: Nicole Caropolo

For more information, please visit Time and NBC News

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