Written By Kevin Kerfoot / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Researchers have identified elemental signatures in baby teeth that are unique to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, and cases when both neurodevelopment conditions are present, which suggests that the metabolic regulation of nutrients and toxins play a role in these diseases.
The researchers used baby teeth to reconstruct prenatal and early-life exposures to nutrients and toxic elements in neurotypical children and children with autism, ADHD, or ADHD and autism and found that each condition has a unique metabolic signature, which shows a combination of dysregulation in metabolic pathways involving essential and toxic elements.
“Environmental epidemiologists typically study exposure to essential and toxic elements by examining how much of a given element a child was exposed to, but our work indicates that the way a child metabolizes environmental exposures is essential to healthy neurodevelopment,” says Paul Curtin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
“The discovery that autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and the combined presentation of autism and ADHD each have a unique metabolic signature can inform future studies on what might cause the disorders,” Curtin continued. “It could help us determine the pathways implicated in the different diseases, which, in turn, could inform the development of treatment and prevention strategies.”
This study - published in Translational Psychiatry - examined the baby teeth of 74 children enrolled in the Roots of Autism and ADHD Twin Study in Sweden (RATSS), which included twin siblings with and without autism and ADHD.
Researchers compared elemental metabolism in neurotypical children to those with ADHD, autism or those diagnosed with both autism and ADHD. While the method is not a diagnostic tool, the metabolic signatures were present prenatally which may have implications for the development of early detection methods.
Baby Teeth And Zinc And Copper Metabolic Cycles
About one in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder – ASD - according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers from the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai also reported that cycles involved in zinc and copper metabolism are dysregulated in ASD and can be used to predict who will later develop the disease. The researchers used the teeth to reconstruct prenatal and early-life exposures to nutrient and toxic elements in healthy and autistic children.
This study - published online in Scientific Advances, a journal published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science - was the first study to generate a 90 percent accurate fetal and early childhood biomarker of ASD using a longitudinal analysis of distinct metabolic pathways.
The results of this research could produce a new diagnostic approach for ASD. During fetal and childhood development, a new tooth layer is formed every day. As each of these “growth rings” forms, an imprint of many of the chemicals circulating in the body is captured in each layer, which provides a chronological record of exposure.
The research team used lasers to sample these layers and reconstruct the past exposures along incremental markings, similar to using growth rings on a tree to determine the tree’s growth history.
“We found significant divergences between ASD-affected children and their healthy siblings, and used these biomarkers to predict the emergence of disease,” Curtin added. “These findings suggest that the cyclical metabolism of nutrients and toxicants is critical to healthy neurodevelopment, and the emergence of autism.”
“The results of this study are important because they identify specific pathways related to autism pathology, and could lead to an early warning system for ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders, “added Manish Arora, Ph.D., BDS, MPH, Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine. “If ASD is diagnosed at a younger age, parents can take advantage of the early introduction of therapies.”
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With over 30 years of writing and editing experience for newspapers, magazines and corporate communications, Kevin Kerfoot writes about natural health, nutrition, skincare and oral hygiene for Trusted Health Products’ natural health blog and newsletters.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.