Although it is unclear how infants are born autistic, a recent survey has revealed the complex interactions between various genetic and environmental factors that could be responsible for the autism condition. However, a real challenge lies in separating the factors.
A recent study has found an alternate way for isolating genetics from the varied environmental contributors that are responsible for autism.
This has led to researchers investing more time into studying the various links between autism risk and metal levels.
In the United States alone, 1 in 68 children has autism spectrum disorder.
A recent study in the field of ASD disorders has been focussing on a factor that could reveal more clues about autism. The study focuses on the metallic level concentration in an infant’s body.
Manish Arora, a dentist by profession and leading environmental scientist, is leading the new research.
The scientist explains that there have been multiple studies carried out in the past investigating the existing relationship between autism and toxic metals in nutrients. However, the previous studies were limited in assessing the metallic concentrations in young infants.
For example, some studies had approximate data about the metal toxins’ exposure that was noticed in the bloodstream of an individual. However, this data had been obtained post-autism diagnosis, rather than prior to the diagnosis.
Further, the studies could not account for the various genetic factors which could have influenced the obtained results, as separating genetic factors from environmental factors is a challenging task.
This study has, however, managed to bypass the earlier limitations. The researchers studied the babies’ shed teeth which has led them to a dearth of information about the individuals.
The researchers further studied twin infants and were able to successfully separate their environmental influences from genetic ones.
To determine the amount of metal that infant bodies contain prior to and after birth, the group used high precision lasers to test the infants’ teeth.
Improved laser technology allows one to accurately predict and extract minute layers of dentine. Dentine is found beneath the lower tooth enamel.
The development stage of a child can be correctly analysed by looking at the cross section of the infant’s teeth.
By analysing the earlier reports and validating with the latest obtained data, the researchers believe autism begins at an early stage. They further highlighted that although autism begins in the womb, the environment too plays a greater role in increasing a child’s risk towards the syndrome.
The group further observed that on average, a child is diagnosed at the age of 2 or 3. Although it has not always been possible to know what the young mothers have been exposed to, scientists are now able to do so by just looking at the baby’s teeth.
32 twins had their teeth looked into by the researchers who studied the teeth of 12 twin pairs individually.
The researchers’ team was quickly able to identify the metallic concentrations and tooth development patterns in twin pairs in which only one infant was diagnosed with ASD.