Previously on this blog, we reported on a connection between pollution exposure during pregnancy and the likelihood of having a child with autism, the complex neurological condition known for its behavioral symptoms. Now, another environmental factor has been linked to this widely misunderstood condition.

In a joint effort between the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute and the Netherlands' Erasmus Medical Centre, researchers have discovered that pregnant women with low levels of the thyroid hormone in their systems are substantially more likely to give birth to infants with autism, potentially because it has been shown to be "crucial to the migration of fetal brain cells during embryo development."

The thyroid gland is responsible for the production of various hormones that play a vital role in healthy development and aging longevity. The source notes that conditions like hypothyroidism are most commonly caused by insufficient levels of iodine. This nutrient, while dangerous in high amounts, is essential for effective thyroid function. Iodine deficiencies are the leading cause of preventable brain damage in the world, and as a result, various countries have launched efforts to monitor and increase iodine intake among pregnant women – including a recent Australian campaing to mandate the use of iodized salt in bread.

"It is increasingly apparent to us that autism is caused by environmental factors in most cases, not by genetics. That gives me hope that prevention is possible," said Gustavo Roman, lead author of the study, in a press release.

To learn more about how diet, pollution and other elements may affect your health, contact the anti-aging doctors at Longevity Centres of America in Houston today. We offer hormone replacement therapy including pellet implants to restore your natural levels, as well as hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy – which has been used as a supplementary treatment to ease symptoms of autism.