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Medical News Today (MNT)Household Chemicals May Increase Risk of Neurological Conditions like Autism, MS

Unraveling the Neurological Impact: Household Chemicals and Their Role in Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Recent research has shed light on how common household chemicals may influence the prevalence of neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, such as autism and multiple sclerosis. A comprehensive study conducted by Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine unveils a connection between these chemicals and damage to oligodendrocytes, crucial brain cells responsible for myelin sheath production, potentially offering insights into the rising rates of such conditions.

Key Points:

  • The study identifies certain household chemicals as potential contributors to the increasing prevalence of neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • Researchers found that organophosphate flame retardants and quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) damage or kill oligodendrocytes, cells essential for myelin sheath formation on nerve cells.
  • The investigation highlighted the impact of these chemicals on oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) derived from mouse pluripotent stem cells, observing significant inhibition in oligodendrocyte development.
  • Out of 1,823 chemicals tested, 292 were cytotoxic to oligodendrocytes, and 47 hindered their development, emphasizing the selective toxicity of certain chemicals.
  • The study employed a human cortical organoid model to demonstrate that the organophosphate flame retardant TDCIPP significantly reduced mature oligodendrocyte and OPC counts.
  • Evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) suggests a correlation between children’s exposure to organophosphates and increased risks of special educational needs or motor dysfunction.
  • Experts advocate for reduced usage of these chemicals, particularly in products targeting vulnerable groups like pregnant women and children.
  • Alternative disinfectants such as caprylic acid and hydrogen peroxide are recommended to minimize exposure to harmful QACs.

Higher prenatal exposure to specific phthalates, chemicals also common in household products, was associated with lower motor function among 11- year old girls while higher postnatal exposure to ∑DEHP metabolites was associated with lower scores among boys.

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