Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a spectrum recognized by a wide range of symptoms including the following:
- Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts;
- Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities;
- Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (typically recognized in the first two years of life); and,
- Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.
Scientists don’t know the exact causes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but research suggests that both genes and environment play important roles. Recently, a new study links bisphenol-A (BPA) exposure to ASD. BPA is a common plasticizer used in a variety of consumer food and beverage containers. All of us would have definitely come across BFA-free water bottles and other platic containers. However, there are many plastic containers in the market that are not BPA free.
The study by researchers at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM) and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS), shows that BPA is not metabolized well in children with ASD.
“It has been suspected for a lot of years that BPA is involved in autism, but there was no direct evidence,” said T. Peter Stein, of RowanSOM and the study’s lead author. “We’ve shown there is a link. The metabolism of BPA is different in some children with autism than it is in otherwise healthy children.”
“Other studies involving rodent data have shown that BPA functions as an endocrine disruptor, but ours is the first to show this in humans and the first to associate it to autism,” Stein said. “The observations show that for some children there was a relationship between intermediary metabolism, the ability to conjugate BPA and symptoms of autism.”
As a part of the study, the researchers also conducted a metabolomic (scientific study of chemical processes involving metabolites) analysis to screen for all the chemicals found in the children’s urine. The metabolomics analyses showed the mean number of statistically significant correlations between metabolites detected and total BPA excreted to be approximately three times greater with the ASD group than the controls, and the number of statistical significant correlations with fraction of BPA bound was approximately15 times higher in the children with ASD.
The original publication can be accessed here.