Particulate Air Pollution Increases Autism Risk

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autism risk, air pollution

Photo courtesy of Les Taylor via Flickr

  • Particulate air pollution increases autism risk: According to a new study by scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health recently published in Environmental Health Perspectives, children whose mothers were exposed to high levels of fine particulate pollution in late pregnancy have up to twice the risk of developing autism as children of mothers breathing cleaner air. This study confirms previous research including a 2010 study that found doubled risk of autism when an expectant mother lived near a freeway, a significant source of particulate pollution, during her third trimester. However, this study is the first one to examine the link across the United States, providing additional evidence to a possible link, explained Heather Volk of the University of Southern California Children’s Hospital, who led earlier studies. The greater the exposure to fine particulates emitted by fires, vehicles, and industrial smokestacks the greater the risk of developing autism.
  • Blood group O at lowest risk of type 2 diabetes: According to a new study by research team from the Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, INSERM, in Villejuif, France, recently published in journal Diabetologia (The European Association for the Study of Diabetes), people with blood type O are at the lowest risk of  developing type 2 diabetes.  The large-scale study of more than 80,000 women has uncovered different risks of developing type 2 diabetes associated with different blood groups, with the biggest difference a 35% increased risk of type 2 diabetes found in those with group B, Rhesus factor positive (R+) blood compared with the universal donor group O, Rhesus factor negative (R-). The results showed that, compared with women with group O blood, women with group A were 10% more likely to develop T2D, and those with group B 21% more likely (both statistically significant). The AB group was 17% more likely to develop T2D, but this result was not statistically significant. When looking solely at R+ versus R- women, neither group was at increased risk of developing T2D compared with the other.
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