Food and Behaviour Research

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Higher rates of autism and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in American children: Are food quality issues impacting epigenetic inheritance?

Dufault R, Crider R, Deth R, Schnoll R, Gilbert S, Lukiw W, Hitt A (2023) World Journal of Clinical Paediatrics Mar 9;12(2):25-37 doi: 10.5409/wjcp.v12.i2.25 

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Abstract:

In the United States, schools offer special education services to children who are diagnosed with a learning or neurodevelopmental disorder and have difficulty meeting their learning goals. Pediatricians may play a key role in helping children access special education services.

The number of children ages 6-21 in the United States receiving special education services increased 10.4% from 2006 to 2021. Children receiving special education services under the autism category increased 242% during the same period. The demand for special education services for children under the developmental delay and other health impaired categories increased by 184% and 83% respectively.

Although student enrollment in American schools has remained stable since 2006, the percentage distribution of children receiving special education services nearly tripled for the autism category and quadrupled for the developmental delay category by 2021.

Allowable heavy metal residues remain persistent in the American food supply due to food ingredient manufacturing processes.

Numerous clinical trial data indicate heavy metal exposures and poor diet are the primary epigenetic factors responsible for the autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder epidemics. Dietary heavy metal exposures, especially inorganic mercury and lead may impact gene behavior across generations.

In 2021, the United States Congress found heavy metal residues problematic in the American food supply but took no legislative action. Mandatory health warning labels on select foods may be the only way to reduce dietary heavy metal exposures and improve child learning across generations.