Psychiatric Medications in Drinking Water May Cause Autism A New Study Reports
June 8, 2012
Researchers in the United States have conducted a study which reports that concentrations of some amount of antidepressants and anti seizures drugs inside the drinking water of pregnant women may be linked with autism. This is based on the fact that the drugs can alter the genetic composition of the fetuses.
The research was conducted on fish that were exposed to Prozac, Effexor and other psychiatric medications. The findings report that genes that were eventually triggered in the fish were similar with those diagnosed in children with autism.
This finding further confirms the previous link of psychiatric medications with autism by previous researches. Here are more details on this new study:
Fish exposed to psychiatric medicines showed gene patterns similar to those found in people with autism, in a study suggesting a link between drugs that get into the human water supply and the brain development disorder.
Researchers put antidepressants Prozac and Effexor, as well as antiseizure drug Tegratol into water tanks of minnows. Tests showed that the same genes turned on in people with autism were also triggered in the fish after exposure, according to a study published in the journal PLoS ONE.
The findings suggest that small amounts of psychiatric medications found in the drinking supply may be a cause of autism, the researchers said. Psychiatric drugs have been linked to autism-like symptoms in studies of rats exposed to the medicines, according to the study.
An environmental cause is really not on the radar for a lot of people, said study author Michael Thomas, a professor of evolutionary biology at Idaho State University in Pocatello, in a telephone interview. My sincere hope is that this opens the door to a new question and allows people to look into that possibility.
Concentrations of the drugs are found downstream from water treatment plants that process human waste that contains the medicines, Thomas said. The molecules make their way into the supply downstream, where pregnant mothers who drink the water can pass the exposure to their fetuses.
While others have envisioned a causal role for psychotropic drugs in idiopathic autism, we were astonished to find evidence that this might occur at very low dosages, such as those found in aquatic systems, Thomas said in a statement accompanying the study.
Eli Lilly & Co.s Prozac, Pfizer Inc.s Effexor and their generic equivalents belong to classes of drugs that generated $14.2 billion in U.S. sales last year, according to data compiled by Wolters Kluwer NV and Bloomberg. Click here to read the full report.
This new finding is fundamental autism research. It surely opens a new window for another angle to the cause of autism. While Prozac and other types of psychiatric medications are helpful in treating and relieving symptoms in psychiatric patients, the discovery of their link with autism should be further investigated.
If this study is validated on humans, then there could be breakthrough in developing better treatment for rising number of children that are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. More support and funding should be provided for more studies on the new genetic link with autism.