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Is Autism Linked to Household Insecticides?

Μια νέα μελέτη ερευνητών του Πανεπιστημίου του λέδο που δημοσιεύθηκε στην επιθεώρηση «PNAS Nexus» δείχνει ότι η έκθεση  εγκύων και μικρών παιδιών σε μια κοινή κατηγορία εντομοκτόνων που ονομάζονται πυρεθροειδή μπορεί να αυξήσει τον κίνδυνο autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, even when done at levels currently considered safe.

They are everywhere

Pyrethroids are widely used insecticides that are contained in both consumer products and industrial formulations. “If someone is spraying your house, chances are they're spraying pyrethroids. They are also used in landscape architecture, applied to roads to combat mosquitoes. They are everywhere" said Dr.  Μπάρκετ, assistant professor of neuroscience at the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences and lead author of the new study. "Our study reinforces previous evidence that these chemicals are probably not as safe for children and pregnant women as we thought."

The first studies

The possible link between pyrethroids and autism emerged after several epidemiological studies showed increased rates of neurodevelopmental disorders in areas where the specific insecticides are used.

Analysis of exposure to low levels of insecticides

In their new study, the University of Toledo researchers wanted, "building" on these studies, to analyze the effect that exposure to low levels of pyrethroids can have on the nervous system.

Study in mice

Σε συνεργασία με ερευνητές από τα Πανεπιστήμια Κολούμπια και Εμορι καθώς και από το Πανεπιστήμιο της Νότιας ς, ο δρ Μπάρκετ εξέτασε τους απογόνους θηλυκών ποντικών που είχαν εκτεθεί σε χαμηλά επίπεδα του πυρεθροειδούς δελταμεθρίνη πριν από την εγκυμοσύνη, κατά τη διάρκειά της και αμέσως μετά το τέλος της.

The μετά την έκθεση

The research team discovered that mice exposed to the insecticide were hyperactive and ναλαμβανόμενες συμπεριφορές ενώ είχαν περισσότερες πιθανότητες να αποτύχουν σε βασικά τεστ μάθησης σε σύγκριση με άλλα ποντίκια που δεν είχαν εκτεθεί σε δελταμεθρίνη. Παράλληλα τα μικρά ποντίκια που γεννήθηκαν από αυτές τις μητέρες παρουσίαζαν αλλαγές στο σύστημα ντοπαμίνης του εγκεφάλου τους.

Change in the brain

"All of these symptoms were similar to those experienced by people with neurodevelopmental disorders." noted Dr. Barket and hastened to add that "We are not saying that these mice had autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This was not the aim of the study. What we're saying is that there was some change in their brains from the insecticide exposure that led to the same type of behavior that we see in children with autism."

A review of the exposure levels of pregnant women and children is required

Pyrethroids are not the only class of insecticides that have been linked to autism, and in general scientists agree that the development of autism is triggered by many different factors. “This study is only one piece of the puzzle and not definitive proof that these insecticides are unsafe or definitely cause autism in humans. It testifies, however, that we need to reconsider the safe levels of pyrethroids with regard to the exposure of pregnant women and children to them."