autismCases of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continue to rise in children. In the 1970s, the autism rate was < 3 in 10,000 in the US. By the 1990s, the rate had increased to > 30 in 10,000. Researchers have failed to find a genetic explanation for the disorder, leading them to investigate environmental causes. In a study published by: Kaye H Kilburn, Jack D Thrasher, and Nina B Immers, researchers show an interesting measure of abnormality in neurobehavioral (brain) and pulmonary (lung) functions between ASD children environmentally exposed to mold / mycotoxin , and children with ASD that were not known to have been exposed to any environmental abnormalities.

To establish a baseline in the study, the two groups of ASD children were compared to a group of children exposed to mold / mycotoxins without ASD. A control group of children not meeting criteria for exposure or ASD diagnosis was compared as well.

The ASD children exposed to mold / mycotoxins exhibited on average, 12.2 neurobehavioral and pulmonary abnormalities. This was compared to 6.8 abnormalities in non-exposed ASD children. The control group only averaged 1.0 abnormalities. Balance issues were the most common abnormality found in the groups, but notably, neuropsychological issues were found more frequently in mold / mycotoxin exposed children than the other groups.

The researchers summarize that exposure to mold / mycotoxins may delay the development of key areas of the brain.

To view the full abstract go here:Kilburn, Thrasher, Immers 2009: Mold Autism

Authors: Kaye H Kilburn, Jack D Thrasher, and Nina B Immers