Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study explores links between smoking during pregnancy, autism

27.04.2012
Women who smoke in pregnancy may be more likely to have a child with high-functioning autism, such as Asperger’s Disorder, according to preliminary findings from a study by researchers involved in the U.S. autism surveillance program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It has long been known that autism is an umbrella term for a wide range of disorders that impair social and communication skills,” says Amy Kalkbrenner, assistant professor in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, lead author of the study. “What we are seeing is that some disorders on the autism spectrum, more than others, may be influenced by a factor such as whether a mother smokes during pregnancy.”

The study was published April 25, 2012, in an advance online release by the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Smoking during pregnancy is still common in the U.S. despite its known harmful impacts on babies. Kalkbrenner found that 13 percent of mothers whose children were included in the study had smoked during pregnancy.

Kalkbrenner and colleagues’ population-based study compared smoking data from birth certificates of thousands of children from 11 states to a database of children diagnosed with autism maintained by the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDMN). Of the 633,989 children, born in 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1998, 3,315 were identified as having an autism spectrum disorder at age 8.

“The study doesn’t say for certain that smoking is a risk factor for autism,” Kalkbrenner says. “But it does say that if there is an association, it’s between smoking and certain types of autism,” implicating the disorders on the autism spectrum that are less severe and allow children to function at a higher level. That connection, she adds, needs further study.

April is Autism Awareness Month, and several studies of possible links between environmental factors and autism are being published by Environmental Health Perspectives at the same time as Kalkbrenner’s study. “The CDC recently released data indicating that 1 in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder, making such environmental studies even more timely,” says Kalkbrenner.

Because autism involves a broad spectrum of conditions and the interplay of genetics and environment is so complex, no one study can explain all the causes of autism, she adds. “The goal of this work is to help provide a piece of the puzzle. And in this we were successful.”

For a pdf of the study, go to: http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104556.

In addition to lead author Kalkbrenner, co-authors include: Joe Braun, Harvard School of Public Health; Maureen Durkin, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health; Matthew Maenner, Waisman Center at UW-Madison; Christopher Cunniff, University of Arizona College of Medicine; Li-Ching Lee, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Sydney Pettygrove, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona; Joyce Nicholas, Medical University of South Carolina; and Julie Daniels, UNC Gillings School of Public Health.

Other research articles published April 25 in Environmental Health Perspectives show that polychlorinated biphenyls disrupt early brain development by interfering with the signals that promote normal neuron branching. A review article suggests research directions for exploring a potential link between pesticides and autism. An editorial calls for increased discovery research to identify possible environmental causes of autism in America’s children.

“PCB 95 Promotes Dendritic Growth via Ryanodine Receptor-Dependent Mechanisms”
http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104832

“PCB 95 Modulates Calcium-Dependent Signaling Pathway Responsible for Activity-Dependent Dendritic Growth”
http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104833

“Tipping the Balance of Autism Risk: Potential Mechanisms Linking Pesticides and Autism”
http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104553

“A Research Strategy to Discover the Environmental Causes of Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities”

http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104285

Amy Kalkbrenner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uwm.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>