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Thimerosal, found in childhood vaccines, can increase the risk of autism-like damage in mice

  • Significant abnormalities in brain architecture, affecting areas subserving emotion and cognition;
  • Increased brain size.

    These findings have relevance for identification of autism cases relating to environmental factors; design of treatment strategies; and development of rational immunization programs. The use of thimerosal in vaccines has been reduced over the past few years, although it is still present in some influenza vaccines. Identifying the connection between genetic susceptibility and an environmental trigger for autism--in this case thimerosal exposure--is important because it may promote discovery of effective interventions for and limit exposure in a specific population, stated the lead author Dr. Mady Hornig. Because the developing brain can be exposed to toxins that are long gone by the time symptoms appear, clues gathered in these animal models can then be evaluated through prospective human birth cohorts--providing a powerful to tool to dissect the interaction between genes and the environment over time.


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  • Contact: Julio Licinio
    licinio@ucla.edu
    310-825-7113
    Molecular Psychiatry
    8-Jun-2004


    Page: 1 2

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