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Folic Acid Prevention Pathways for ASD in High Risk Families

Autism spectrum disorders affect 1 in 68 children in the US. There is evidence for a potentially large role for the early in-utero environment, including gestational nutrition, in ASD etiology. Maternal folic acid is one of the first modifiable factors with the potential to reduce occurrence of ASD. In addition to being essential for neurodevelopment, folate is a primary methyl-donor for methylation reactions. The time near conception is an especially critical period for adequate methyl supply during cycles of active de-methylation and re-methylation during embryogenesis, interactions with genetic and environmental risk factors, and the greatest reduction in ASD risk associated with higher maternal folic acid intake. Using data and samples from mother-child pairs in two large prospective studies, this study proposes to examine specific pathways for prevention of ASD through maternal dietary and supplemental folate intake.

Investigator: Croen, Lisa

Funder: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

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