Those that are new to the autism causation discussion have heard of the potential of vaccines and genes causing autism but here are a couple lesser known contributing factors.
Children are increasingly exposed to medications in the womb and in their early years. Using some of these medications has been linked with a diagnosis of autism.
According to the Journal of Medical Microbiology, research has linked antibiotics to autism due to the negative effect antibiotics have on gut flora. Autistic children often suffer from stomach issues, supporting this possible link.
- Tylenol (Acetaminophen)
According to the Journal of Restorative Medicine, “The marked increases in incidences of autism, asthma, and attention deficit disorder in the United States coincide with the replacement of aspirin by acetaminophen in the 1980s.” Tylenol depletes a necessary antioxidant called glutathione, which may contribute to brain damage in “vulnerable children”.
The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that women who take a certain class of antidepressants known as SSRIs (Prozac, Zoloft) have an increased risk of having a child with autism. Research suggests that this exposure to these types of medications, especially during the first trimester, modestly increases risk.
A 2014 article published by the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found a correlation between autism and spacing between pregnancies. They found the following statistics:
- Children conceived less than 12 months after their sibling were 50% more likely to be diagnosed with autism.
- Those conceived more than 60 months apart were 40% more likely to be diagnosed with autism.
- Those conceived more than 120 months were over 30% more likely to be diagnosed with autism.
- Living near Freeways A 2010 study published in Children’s Health studied the relationship between traffic-related air pollution and autism. The basis for the study was that, “Little is known about environmental causes and contributing factors for autism. Basic science and epidemiologic research suggest oxidative stress and inflammation may play a role in disease development.” The study found, “Living near a freeway was associated with autism.” This was believed to be due to the pregnant mothers’ exposures to the air pollution.
- Proximity to Toxic Land Fills A 2008 study published in Environmental Health Insights revealed “considerable overlap between identified toxic landfills [like superfund sites] and diagnosed cases of autism/ASD.” The study points out that while the evidence does not prove causation, “the strength of the correlation and the fact that autism cases related to the number of Superfund sites is consistent with the hypotheses that the etiology of autism/ASD, in part, is dependent upon early and repeated exposure to mixtures of environmental toxins.”
- Living Close to Areas Sprayed by Chemical Pesticides Authors of a 2014 study published in Environmental Health Perspective wanted to determine if “residential proximity to agricultural pesticides during pregnancy is associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or developmental delay (DD) in the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment (CHARGE) study.” They concluded, “This study of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] strengthens the evidence linking neurodevelopmental disorders with gestational pesticide exposures.”