Potential causes of autism can be identified by simply studying baby teeth. Baby teeth are an information repository on exposures suffered.
- Fallen baby teeth can be used to track exposure to chemicals that may trigger autism during pregnancy and infancy.
- Tooth enamel forms at different stages and will absorb chemicals circulating in the body. It therefore acts like an archaeological record showing when exposure to certain chemicals happened.
- Baby teeth could also be used as a painless way to extract DNA required to identify changes in the genes that could be linked to autism.
“Taken together, research on baby teeth will inform us about potential causes of autism and who might be most vulnerable,” says Dr. Palmer, who is not directly involved in the UCLA study.
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