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Jan 13, 2023

Risk of Autism Associated With When and Where Forebears Lived

Where your ancestors lived can cause Autism? That seems ridiculous but a recent study by University of Utah Health scientists found a connection:

University of Utah Health scientists, using a unique combination of geographic and population data, recently concluded that when and where parents and grandparents of Utah children were born and raised could contribute to an increased risk of autism among their offspring.

The scientists think this new approach could be used to explore time and space aspects of any disease where family pedigree information is available.

The study, published in the International Journal of Health Geographics, is among the first to assess the influence of time and space (when and where) across generations on the increased risk of autism.

In time, the researchers say, this finding could lead to the identification of environmental factors, such as exposure to pollutants, that could have disruptive effects on genetic information passed between generations.

“Looking back at families and where and when they lived helped us detect clusters of individuals who seem to have a higher subsequent risk of autism among their descendants,” says James VanDerslice, an environmental epidemiologist in the Division of Public Health at U of U Health and senior author of the study.

“Knowing that the parents and grandparents of these children with autism shared space and time brings us closer to understanding the environmental factors that might have influenced this health outcome.”

You can read more in an article published in the neurosciencenews.com web site at: https://neurosciencenews.com/autism-location-time-22242/.

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