Could Zinc Deficiency In Utero Lead to Autism?

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Autism spectrum disorders have been linked to genetic and environmental factors, such as zinc deficiency before birth. Now, a study conducted at Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, and published in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience provides more information about the zinc-autism connection.

Zinc is a mineral that’s necessary in very small amounts for good health. According to the researchers, zinc helps shape connections among the brain cells called neurons that form early in a the growth of a fetus, and they suggest that zinc levels and certain proteins encoded by specific genes could lead to the development of autism.

The researchers do not say that their findings support the idea of pregnant women taking zinc supplements for autism prevention, but they do improve understanding of how autism spectrum disorders develop. Additional research could help improve strategies for preventing, diagnosing, and treating this developmental disorder.

Sourced from: Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience