The new study at the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh will be supported by a $200,000 grant from ALCOA Foundation, as part of its Campaign for an Amazing Future. To that end, this grant will be used to evaluate the feasibility of developing an experimental room with reduced toxins and exposures — an Environmental Pediatric Room.
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a group of developmental disabilities
that are caused by an abnormality in the brain. According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 500 (2/1,000) to
1 in 150 children (6.7/1,000) have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
and four boys are diagnosed to every one girl. ASDs range from a severe
form, autistic disorder (classic autism) to a mild form, Asperger
syndrome. If a child has symptoms of either disorder but does not meet
the specific criteria of either, he/she is diagnosed with pervasive
developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PPD-NOS).The new study:
Scott Faber, MD, a specialist in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) will lead a team of scientists for this pilot project that aims to study the effects of environmental factors on this debilitating set of disorders. Duquesne University's H.M. "Skip" Kingston
, Ph.D., will conduct the analytical tasks providing biochemimarker data. At the conclusion of the feasibility phase, the work will be expanded with funding from other sources, both public and private. According to Scott Faber, MD, the lead investigator, "the Alcoa grant
gives The Children's Hospital
an opportunity to explore the possible connections that may exist between environmental factors and autism."
Analyses of samples from autistic children for metabolic biochemical assessment will be performed by using the Biochemimarker(TM) Discovery Products provided by Applied Isotope Technologies
Matt Pamuku, CEO of AIT said, "The products offered by AIT, especially the consumable kits are tailor-made for this pioneering work. Through accurate profiling of biologically significant mercury species as a function of response to environment exposure, for example, some of the questions concerning thimerosal -- a mercury containing vaccine preservative also known as thiomersal -- might be answered." Mr. Pamuku added, "In the future, such measurements will reveal new information that may lead to better health risk assessment and early intervention choices for ASD similar to the currently mandated PKU tests that are done for all newborn babies in the US." PKU, or phenylketonuria, is an inborn error of metabolism that affects 1 in 10,000 babies. Identification of PKU in children at birth allows immediate intervention through a special diet that circumvents severe ASD-like disabilities.
Mr. Pamuku stated "There is an urgent need for an accurate biochemical diagnostic tool that will permit accurate assessment and early intervention of ASD which afflicts as many as 1 in 150 children in the USA today." Related EVISA Resources EVISA Link database: Information related to autism EVISA Link database: Information about the toxicity of mercury and its compounds EVISA Link database: Information about environmental mercury pollution Related News EVISA News, May 14, 2008: Autism risk linked to distance from power plants and other mercury-releasing sources EVISA News, November 16, 2006: A silent pandemic: Industrial chemicals are impairing the brain development of children worldwide EVISA News, May 3, 2006: Texas Study Relates Autism to Environmental Mercury EVISA News, March 24, 2006: PLSG Invests $100,000 in Applied Isotope Technologies, Inc., for Development of New Technologies for Environmental and Biological Analyses
last time updated: May 15, 2008