Epidemiology and Environment

Utilizing existing resources from two ongoing studies: Markers of Autism Risk in Babies – Learning Early Signs (MARBLES) and Childhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE); this project is investigating exposures that may contribute to risk for an autism spectrum disorder separately and in combination with certain genomic or epigenetic profiles. Exposures that are being investigated in both studies include polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), pyrethroid insecticides, and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). Chemical measurements in plasma, urine, breast milk, and exposures assessed by self-reported information from questionnaires and interviews will be examined in relation to children’s developmental status and biomarkers, including DNA methylation and immune status. The impact of these exposures will be evaluated based on relevant genetic polymorphisms, copy number variations, or measures of global DNA methylation.