Tuesday, August 07, 2012
By: Craig Stellpflug
[NaturalNews] More and more over the past 25 years, brominated flame retardants have been used in home furnishings and electronics to slow down fires. These chemicals are now routinely found in household dust, food, air and in the umbilical cords of newborns.
In a recent study, scientists are reporting that environmental toxins and genetics can work together to create autism symptoms in mice prenatally exposed to a flame retardant. Genetically predisposed female mice were less social and had impaired memories and learning skills after their mothers were exposed to a brominated compound known as a PBDE. PBDEs have been accumulating in the environment in lock-step with the accelerating rise in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
This study linked genetic and behavioral changes to a flame retardant chemical and a specific gene mutation found in Rett’s syndrome – a condition on the autism spectrum that primarily affects females with significant deficits in social behaviors and communication. An individual with genetic risks for other health-related problems or diseases may also be more sensitive to these environmental chemicals than the overall general population.
PDBEs attack on the thyroid
Halogens consist of bromine, chlorine, fluorine and iodine which are all similar in atomic structure. PBDEs are made from bromine and have a similar chemical structure to iodine in thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones act in every cell in the body to perform a wide-ranging role in metabolism, growth and overall development. PBDEs interrupt thyroid function, causing changes in brain development. Mouse studies show early life exposure to PDBEs increases hyperactivity, impairs learning and alters motor development.
The brain cells in autism are sensitive to thyroid hormone regulation and can be adversely affected by PBDEs.
Recently, the Schafer Report and the CDC announced a staggering new figure of 1 in 91 children now being affected by autism. Symptoms of ASD include deficiencies in social behaviors, cognition and communication, repetitive behaviors, regression of language skills, severe brain disorganization and a drop in processing skills. For most of the children with autism, sensory perception becomes disoriented, inappropriate and often overwhelming.