Chemically induced autism? Scientist discovers pesticides, fungicides lead to neurodegeneration in test subjects

Friday, April 15, 2016
By Paul Martin

by: Daniel Barker
Friday, April 15, 2016

A new study found that certain pesticides and fungicides cause neurodegeneration in brain cells similar to the effects of autism and Alzheimer’s – findings that suggest a link between the use of these chemicals and the skyrocketing rise in autism rates.

The report, published by the journal Nature Communications, showed that several commonly used fungicides and pesticides triggered changes in gene expressions in the brains of rats – changes that affect the function of neurons in a way that resembles the impairment in brain cells of humans with autism and Alzheimer’s.

The research team used RNA sequencing to test around 300 chemicals to see if any of them triggered the gene expressions associated with autism. They found six groups of chemicals which produced the neurodegenerative effects, and of particular interest was a class of fungicides called strobilurins.

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