Pesticide may increase autism risk

A landmark study published this week in the American Journal of Psychiatry describes a correlation between pesticide levels in a mother’s blood and autism risk in their infants.

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States.

Though the condition varies between people, symptoms commonly include repetitive behavior, difficulties adapting to change, and trouble in social situations.

Exactly what causes autism and how it develops is still up for debate, but it is widely recognised that there is likely to be interplay between environmental and genetic factors.

Much headway has been made in autism research — but, to date, there are few definitive answers, and there is no cure.

Recently, a group of researchers set out to investigate whether there might be links between pesticide exposure and autism risk. In particular, they were interested in dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT).

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