Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | October 6, 2009

Kentucky environmental attorney Sanders says environmental factors may be root cause of large increase in number of children diagnosed with autism.

A study conducted by NIEHS-funded researchers at the University of California Davis found that the seven- to eight-fold increase since 1990 in the number of children born in California and later diagnosed with autism.  According to the researchers, the large increase in children diagnosed with autism cannot be explained by changes in how the condition is diagnosed or counted.  That means, something else is causing the huge increase in the numbers of kids diagnosed with autism.

The researchers also concluded that the trend is not slowing and suggest that the research focus should shift from genetics to the multitude of chemical and infectious agents in the environment that could be involved in the rapid rise in the incidence of autism.

The results of the investigation show that the incidence of autism by age six in California increased from fewer than 9 cases per 10,000 children born in 1990 to more than 44 per 10,000 children born in 2000.  Migration patterns and changes in diagnosis were ruled out as possible reasons for the increase.  The results show that less than one-tenth of the increase can be attributed to the inclusion of milder cases of autism.

As a result of these findings, researchers are currently involved in two large studies looking at possible environmental factors and gene-environment interactions responsible for autism. They are focusing on the potential effects of metals, pesticides, and infectious agents on neurodevelopment.

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