Autism Epidemic Creates Interest In Potential Mercury Poisoning Links

[This is from a university press release. This is a UC Davis supplied headline. Note the significant use of the E-word (epidemic). -ed.]

Sacramento, Calif. – The potential relationship between mercury and autism was addressed in a recently published research article in Health & Place titled “Environmental mercury release, special education rates, and autism disorder: an ecological study of Texas”, creating new interest in environmental toxins and neuro-developmental disorders. The UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute, a national resource for research on autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, is sponsoring a comprehensive study on environmental toxins and their effects on the development of children.

Irva Hertz-Picciotto, professor of epidemiology at the UC Davis School
of Medicine, is an investigator with the M.I.N.D. Institute and an
internationally renowned environmental epidemiologist and researcher on
environmental toxins — including metals, pesticides, PCBs and air pollution
— and their effects on pregnancy and early child development. She directs
several large studies funded by the National Institutes of Health on
immunity and neurodevelopment in young children. One of these is the CHARGE (Childhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment) study, which is examining the interaction between genetic susceptibility and exposures to environmental agents. Hertz-Picciotto can discuss this and other current research on autism and environmental exposures, and how the outcomes of that research could shift approaches to autism prevention and treatment.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes impaired language
and social abilities. Autism diagnoses have increased markedly during the
past two decades: It is now estimated that one in every 166 children has
Autism Spectrum Disorder. The burden on families, schools and health systems is significant: Care for one autistic child can cost between $80,000 and $90,000 per year.

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