The diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have surged in recent years, urging researchers to delve deeper into the underlying causes.
A recent study offers a fresh perspective, highlighting a potential discrepancy in the way children with ASD or ADHD process the prevalent plastic additive bisphenol A (BPA) compared to their neurotypical peers.
Used extensively in plastics and even found lining food and drink cans, BPA has long been under scrutiny. Several studies have associated it with health issues like hormone disruption, potentially leading to conditions like breast cancer and infertility.
In this new investigation, researchers from Rowan University and Rutgers University in the US evaluated 149 children – 66 diagnosed with autism, 46 with ADHD, and 37 who were neurotypical. The team zeroed in on glucuronidation, the body’s natural process of detoxifying the bloodstream, subsequently excreting these toxins via urine.
The findings were striking: children with ASD and ADHD demonstrated a diminished ability to purge BPA and another compound called Diethylhexyl Phthalate (DEHP) when juxtaposed with their neurotypical counterparts.
In BPA’s case, the data was notably significant. The efficiency of detoxifying BPA dropped by approximately 11% in children with ASD and by 17% in those with ADHD relative to the control group.
One theory posited by the researchers is the existence of gene mutations in certain individuals, hindering effective BPA clearance. Consequently, the lingering substance might inflict harm, particularly in neuronal development and functioning.
It’s pivotal to note that ASD and ADHD likely manifest due to an amalgamation of genetic and environmental factors. This study intriguingly intertwines the two. However, the full narrative remains unveiled.
Not every child with a neurodevelopmental disorder exhibited BPA clearance issues, emphasizing that other variables are undoubtedly in play.
While this study provides a compelling link, it doesn’t definitively claim BPA exposure as a causative factor for either disorder. The quest continues to decipher the intricate origins of ASD and ADHD, be it prenatal or later-life influences.