Even higher rates of autism and ADHD reported in new study
New study shows autism and ADHD rates are accelerating and epigenetic inheritance may be to blame.
The percentage of US children receiving special education services quadrupled for developmental delay and tripled for autism from 2006-2021. As schools across the country struggle to hire enough special education teachers, Hawai'i's fix to solve the problem with pay increases may not work. In a new study released on March 8 by World Journal of Clinical Pediatrics researchers reported alarming increases in the number of children requiring special education services. While student enrollment remained flat for the fifteen year period under study, the percentage of children receiving special education services increased by a whopping 10.4%. The bar chart shows how the data collected by the US Department of Education looks for the years 2006 and 2021. In 2006, children with autism and ADHD associated categories required just 36% of all special education services. By 2021, children with these disabilities required 49% or nearly half of all special education services.
The research team, led by Dr. Renee Dufault, also conducted a literature review to determine the primary factors involved in the development of autism and ADHD. Over the last ten years, numerous clinical trial data indicate heavy metal exposures and poor diet are the primary factors impacting gene behavior in children diagnosed with autism and/or ADHD. Prenatal consumption of processed foods results in poor nutrition and exposures to heavy metals which adversely impact infant gene behavior before and after birth. To make matters worse, infants and small children continue to be exposed to heavy metals in processed baby foods. These heavy metal exposures further exacerbate the development of autism and ADHD.
In a previous review of the literature, scientists from Hawai'i based Food Ingredient and Health Research Institute, Mayo Clinic, and Duquesne University, provided convincing evidence to suggest mercury and lead exposures are significant factors in the etiology of autism and ADHD. Dozens of studies have been published showing children with autism and ADHD have elevated levels of heavy metals in their blood compared to their peers without symptoms. Lead and mercury are consistently found in children with autism and lead is consistently found in all children with ADHD. The NIH Library of Medicine has published guidance for pediatricians to use to test for blood lead and inorganic mercury levels in children.
Dufault and her research team also analyzed CDC data and found the rate of autism prevalence in the US is accelerating. Autism and ADHD are both considered behavioral disorders. With student behavior cited as a primary reason for rising teacher turnovers across the nation, pay raises may not be enough to keep teachers in the classroom. As the rate of adverse child birth/poor learning outcomes accelerates, the only solution may be to fix the food supply. Unfortunately, the US Congress has not taken any action so far.
Dr. Dufault discusses latest research findings on the cause of autism and ADHD during interview with George Noory on Feb. 15, 2023.
New review article in clinical pediatrics journal available first week of March.
Analysis of U.S. Department of Education data indicates autism has tripled and developmental delay has quadrupled over the last 15 years in the U.S. even though student enrollment has remained flat.
Clinical trial data across the world indicates all children with autism have elevated levels of inorganic mercury and lead in their blood and all children with ADHD have elevated lead levels in their blood (compared to neurotypical children).
Prenatal dietary exposures to inorganic mercury and lead cause autism and/or ADHD in children.
Strong evidence supports the idea that increasing prevalence of autism and ADHD is caused by transgenerational epigenetic inheritance patterns.
Connecting inorganic mercury and lead to dietary sources of exposure
New research shows mercury and lead levels in blood may be tied to processed food diet and ADHD and Autism
New recommendations published for diagnosing and treating ADHD and Autism
Big Island of Hawai'i, US — Nearly 13% of all boys in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates the autism prevalence in 8-year-old children is now 1 in 59 childrenalthough the true number of children afflicted with autism across all age groups remains unknown.
In a recent review, scientists from the Food Ingredient and Health Research Institute, Mayo Clinic and Duquesne University, report there is now convincing evidence to suggest mercury and lead exposures are significant facdtors in the etiology of autism and ADHD. Dozens of studies have been published showing children with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have elevated levels of heavy metals in their blood compared to their peers without symptoms. Lead is consistently found in all children with ADHD and lead and mercury are found consistently in all children with ASD. These heavy metal exposures impact gene behavior and compromise a child's ability to metabolize and excrete organophosphate pesticide residues. Organophosphate pesticide exposures have previously been linked to the development of both ADHD and ASD.
The CDC uses a 5 ug/dL reference value for blood lead levels to identify children who have been exposed to lead. However, several studies indicate symptoms of ADHD are often found in children with lower levels of lead. The CDC currently has no reference value for blood mercury levels to identify children at risk of autism.
Dr. Skip Kingston at Duquesnes University stated, "this research is important because the accumulating body of scientific literature over the past two decades suggest measured heavy metal levels and other xenobiotics in blood are crucial factors that trigger the onset of ADHD and autism. By testing children early with accurate testing methods, we can take measures to reduce these exposures and switch the trajectory of children at risk. We have the tools to address these disorders through proper health assessment and early intervention. "
Evidence suggests ultra-processed food consumption may be a source of heavy metal exposure not often considered, especially in the case of inorganic mercury and lead. The literature indicates unhealthy diet high in processed food with ingredients with allowable mercury and lead residues, hydrogenated fats, sugar sweetened beverages, vegetable oils, processed meats and refined grains remains a significant factor in the development of symptoms associated with ASD and ADHD.
Dr. Steven Gilbert, leading toxicologist, urges healthcare providers "to consider helping parents change their child's diet to reduce the heavy metal exposures that may impact child behaviors and brain function. Multiple studies now show that changing a child's diet can alleviate the symptoms associated with ADHD and ASD. Switching to a healthy diet that reduces heavy metal exposures and boosts PON1 gene activity may improve a child's behaviors and overall health status. The PON1 gene is suppressed by heavy metal exposures, and this impacts a child ability to metabolize and excrete the organophosphate pesticide residues found throughout the U.S. food supply. Previous studies have found organophosphate pesticide exposures can impact brain development and child behaviors. The most important treatment is prevention."
Dr. Renee Dufault, the first author of the review, urges Congress to act now by passing a law to mandate warning labels on foods that contain ingredients with allowable heavy metal residues. Examples of such food ingredients include yellow #5, yellow #6, red #40, caramel, titanium dioxide, calcium chloride, and sodium benzoate. There are numerous other food ingredients in the food supply with allowable heavy metal residues according to Dr. Dufault, a former FDA research who retired in 2008 to publish findings of mercury residues in high fructose corn syrup.
The new article was published this month and is indexed by PubMed. The authors provide guidance for detecting heavy metal exposures in the blood of children suspected of having an autism or ADHD diagnosis. Studies indicate such testing may be done in conjunction with behavior checklists and dietary changes. The paper provides guidance on the dietary changes needed to reduce exposures to these heavy metals in the blood of children with ADHD and autism which may correlate with their behavior patterns.