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Extramural Research

Environmental Factors in the Etiology of Autism; Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (The CHARGE Study)

EPA Grant Number: R829388C004
Subproject: this is subproject number 004 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R829388
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: CECEHDPR - University of California at Davis Center for the Study of Environmental Factors in the Etiology of Autism
Center Director: Pessah, Isaac N.
Title: Environmental Factors in the Etiology of Autism; Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (The CHARGE Study)
Investigators: Hertz-Picciotto, Irva , Beckett, Laurel , Hansen, Robin
Current Investigators: Hertz-Picciotto, Irva , Croen, Lisa , Hansen, Robin
Institution: University of California - Davis
EPA Project Officer: Saint, Chris
Project Period: September 30, 2001 through September 29, 2002
RFA: Centers for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research (2001)
Research Category: Children's Health , Health Effects

Description:

Objective:

The causes and contributing factors for autism are poorly understood. Evidence suggests that incidence is increasing, but diagnostic changes & improvements may be playing a role. Both genetic and environmental factors appear to play a role. Autopsy studies demonstrate structural changes in the brain and clinical investigations reveal neurophysiologic differences in information processing in autistic vs. normal children. Members of our team recently demonstrated altered levels of certain neuropeptides at birth in children who later developed autism.

The proposed case-control study will be the first large-scale epidemiologic investigation of underlying causes for autism and triggers of regression. This study will capitalize on the strengths of the case-control design, which is well suited to examine a broad array of factors for rare conditions that are thought to be multifactorial. Comparisons will be made with both general population controls and mentally retarded children.

The aims are to assess the influence of exogenous exposures, the role of susceptibility factors, and the interplay between these two in the etiology of autism and its phenotypic variation. Chemicals with known or suspected neurodevelopmental toxicity, such as PCB’s, certain pesticides, and metals, will be investigated. This study will also pursue several hypotheses that have recently gained attention, including the combined measles, mumps, rubella vaccine and mercury present in vaccines given during infancy and early childhood. Additionally, biochemical susceptibility will be examined through characterization of metabolic, immunologic, and neuronal gene expression profiles and genetic polymophisms.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this subproject: View all 2 publications for this subprojectView all 145 publications for this center

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this subproject: View all 2 journal articles for this subprojectView all 132 journal articles for this center

Supplemental Keywords:

Autism, environmental epidemiology, neurodevelopment, neurotoxicology,, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, Health Risk Assessment, Chemistry, Risk Assessments, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, Disease & Cumulative Effects, Physical Processes, Children's Health, genetic susceptability, Biology, Risk Assessment, neurotoxic, chemical exposure, biomarkers, xenobiotics, exposure, gene-environment interaction, pesticides, neurodevelopment, halogenated aromatics, children, neurobehavioral, neurodevelopmental, neurotoxicity, etiology, human exposure, susceptibility, autism, neurobehavioral effects, biological markers, mechanisms, exposure assessment, human health risk, synergistic interactions, biomarker

Progress and Final Reports:
2002 Progress Report
2003 Progress Report
2005 Progress Report


Main Center Abstract and Reports:
R829388    CECEHDPR - University of California at Davis Center for the Study of Environmental Factors in the Etiology of Autism

Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
R829388C001 Environmental Factors in the Etiology of Autism; Analytic Biomakers (xenobiotic) Core
R829388C002 Environmental Factors in the Etiology of Autism; Cell Activation/Signaling Core
R829388C003 Environmental Factors in the Etiology of Autism; Molecular Biomakers Core
R829388C004 Environmental Factors in the Etiology of Autism; Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (The CHARGE Study)
R829388C005 Environmental Factors in the Etiology of Autism; Animal Models of Autism
R829388C006 Environmental Factors in the Etiology of Autism; Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Autism

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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