Study Discovers Elevated Risk of Toxicity Among Autistic Kids

In the last couple of decades, the number of individuals being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has greatly increased.

Researchers hypothesize that disorders such as ADHD and ASD are caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. One study found that there’s a difference in how kids with ADHD or autism eliminate bisphenol A from their bodies, in comparison to neurotypical kids. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a common plastic additive used in plastic production processes. It can also be found inside drink and food cans.

Prior studies have also linked the plastic additive to health issues that involve the disruption of hormones, including infertility and breast cancer.

Scientists from Rutgers University and Rowan University examined three groups of children: 37 neurotypical kids, 46 with ADHD and 66 with autism. All children involved were recruited from the clinics of Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School.

Each child was required to provide a urine sample, which the researchers used in their multiple mass spectrometric analyses. The scientists focused on glucuronidation, a chemical process used by the human body to eliminate toxins in the blood through the urine. The scientists discovered that children with ADHD and ASD couldn’t get rid of BPA and another compound known as diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) as efficiently as other children. This, the researchers theorized, could possibly lead to longer exposure to the compounds’ toxic effects.

The efficiency in detoxification of these compounds was reduced by roughly 17% and 11% for children with ADHD and ASD respectively.

In their paper, the scientists stated that the detoxification of these compounds was compromised in children with ADHD and ASD, which exposed their tissues to the compound longer. They explained that gene mutations in some people meant that BPA couldn’t be removed from the body properly, noting that this could possibly cause damage in terms of neuron development.

It should be noted that not all children with neurodevelopmental disorders have issues clearing out BPA.

Researchers are currently focused on determining how exactly ADHD and ASD develops in individuals, whether it starts in utero or later on in life.

At the moment, the data isn’t enough to demonstrate whether exposure to BPA causes either disorder. Despite this though, the researchers note that while the exact role of these compounds in the overall occurrence of neurodevelopmental disorders isn’t known, it must make up a considerable proportion or they wouldn’t have been detected so easily during the study.

The researchers reported their findings in “PLOS ONE.”

As more becomes known about autism, companies such as PaxMedica Inc. (NASDAQ: PXMD) will have a richer scientific database to tap into in their efforts to develop treatments geared at helping autistic patients to have a better quality of life through efficacious symptom management.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to PaxMedica Inc. (NASDAQ: PXMD) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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