A large-scale study is being conducted to assess the relationship between toxic chemicals in the environment and brain development. Senior researcher Dr. Martha Herbert, M.D., Ph.D. is an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and a pediatric neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. Herbert is an advocate of holistic wellness to reduce complications related to ASD. Her book The Autism Revolution: Whole-Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be provides instruction on reducing toxic exposure, obtaining ideal nutrition, and reducing stress. The research aims to identify how environment affects brain and body development through out one’s life, not just in early development, and at what point autism happens. Researchers have not yet identified the cause of autism, and while most are focused on discovering a genetic origin, many are opening their eyes to environmental factors that could be causing or influencing the severity of autism. Dr. Hebert explains the significance of the study saying, “The genes load the gun, but the environment pulls the trigger.”[i] The parallel increase in exposure to toxins and diagnoses of developmental disorders seem to bare testament to these working assumptions. Dr. Martha Herbert will be speaking at the International Center for Autism Research and Education’s conference ‘Autism: Cutting Edge Research and Promising Treatment and Educational Approaches’ at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, New York June 5. To register or learn more about the conference, visit www.ICare4Autism.org. For more information regarding Herbert’s work, visit www.marthaherbert.org.
[i] Arcega, Mil. “New Research Investigates Link Between Autism And Toxic Chemicals.” Voice of America. N.p., 14 Apr. 2010. Web. 19 Apr. 2013. <http://www.voanews.com/content/new-research-theorizes-link-between-autism-and-toxic-chemicals–90936449/171102.html>.