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Environmental aspects of Autism Alisa Patel University California, Irvine.

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Presentation on theme: "Environmental aspects of Autism Alisa Patel University California, Irvine."— Presentation transcript:

1 Environmental aspects of Autism Alisa Patel University California, Irvine

2 What is Autism?

3 Spectrum Disorder

4 History Introduced first in 1911 by Eugen Bleuler Term used to describe person’s exclusion of the outside world and withdrawal from social life 50’s &60’s thought it was caused by detached uncaring mothers In 1977, Dr. Susan Folstein and Dr. Michael Rutter published the first autism twin study, which revealed evidence of a genetic basis for autism. Over the next ten years, researchers conducted additional studies that further yielded evidence of a genetic component to autism as well as refined the symptoms of autism.

5 Prevalence


7 Why the Increase? Changing definitions &diagnostic criteria Other factors: methods for case finding, availability of services, focus on early intervention for preschoolers Possible environmental exposures: mercury, viruses, autoimmune disorders, even childhood vaccinations?

8 Glutathione Glutathione most important tool for detoxifying and excreting metals Imbalance in the ratio of active to inactive glutothione Autistic children showed a significant impairment to maintain a healthy gluthathione


10 Mercury Toxicity to the developing brain and nervous system 1/6 pregnancies exposed to methyl mercury above EPA recommended level Exposed from seafood consumption HepB vaccinations carry thimerosal (1988- 2002) Preservative in vaccines Removed from shelves


12 Environmental triggers are a neglected component of autism research Environmental chemicals that provoke oxidative stress could contribute to autism or other health problems Impaired antioxidant production provides a common rationale for many disparate features of autistic disorders Autism rates higher, Glutathione levels lower in males

13 Treatments Developmental approach –Consistency –Structure –Stimulation Behavior approach -Rewards Life Style changes -diet

14 Further Reading ning/Autism/Auttreat.htm ning/Autism/Auttreat.htm tm tm tm tm HOFIAUTISMFall2005.pdf

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