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Losing Our MindsEffects of Chemical Pollution on the Intellectual Capacity and Mental Health of Future Generations$
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Barbara Demeneix

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199917518

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199917518.001.0001

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Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Congenital Hypothyroidism

Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Congenital Hypothyroidism

The Case for Gene × Environment Interactions

Chapter:
(p.197) Chapter 7 Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Congenital Hypothyroidism
Source:
Losing Our Minds
Author(s):

Barbara Demeneix

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199917518.003.0007

Incidences of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are rising inexorably. Diagnostic change and greater social awareness account for less than 40% of the ASD increase. As the gene pool has not changed, environmental causes must be implicated, notably by modulating cellular responses and gene expression (gene × environment interactions) during early development. The numbers of children born with congenital hypothyroidism are also increasing and, again, the rise cannot be explained by genetic causes. Deficiency and disruption of thyroid hormone signaling by environmental chemicals can thus be considered front-line candidates contributing to the increasing incidence of ASD and ADHD. The enormous socioeconomic costs of these disorders are discussed. It is argued that precautionary principles should be applied while more research is directed to identifying the principal culprits and determining replacement strategies.

Keywords:   autism incidence, ADHD, congenital hypothyroidism, gene × environment interactions, socioeconomic costs

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