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New Evidence for Flame Retardant’s Role in Autism – Special Needs Digest

Published on: 07/13/2012

For the first time, scientists have reported that the environment and genetics can work together to create autism-like symptoms in mice exposed in the womb to a flame retardant. The female mice — born to mothers that are genetically more susceptible to develop autistic behaviors — were less social and had impaired memories and learning skills after their mothers were exposed to a brominated compound known as a PBDE.

A mother’s exposure to a flame retardant before, during and after pregnancy interacted with a known genetic mutation to impair learning and memory and decrease social behaviors in her offspring, a study with mice has found. Female mice were more sensitive to the exposure, which altered the on/off switches in the epigenetic code.

This is the first study to link genetic, epigenetic and behavioral changes to a flame retardant chemical in females with a high genetic risk for autism spectrum disorders. The study is important because it focused on a specific gene mutation linked to Rett’s syndrome – a condition on the autism spectrum that primarily affects females.

via New evidence for flame retardant’s role in autism – Special Needs Digest.

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