Tags: flame | retardants | learning

Flame Retardant, Learning Deficits Linked

Thursday, 16 February 2012 05:59 PM

A common flame retardant may increase the risk of learning deficits and long-term memory, according to a new study of mice by University of California, Davis, researchers.
The study, published online in the journal Human Molecular Genetics, found mice genetically engineered to be susceptible to autism-like behaviors that were exposed to the flame retardant were less fertile when compared with the offspring of normal unexposed mice. Their offspring were also smaller, less sociable and demonstrated marked deficits in learning and long-term memory.
The researchers, who will present their findings this weekend at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said the study is the first to link genetics with exposure to a flame retardant chemical known as BDE-47, commonly used in electronics, bedding, carpeting and furniture.
"This study highlights the interaction between [genetics] and the effects of early exposure to flame retardants," said lead author Janine LaSalle, in a release issued with the findings. "Our experiments with wild-type and mutant mice indicate that exposure to flame retardants presents an independent risk of neurodevelopmental deficits associated with reduced sociability and learning."
LaSalle said that the study results are important because better understanding of the genetic links to social behavior and cognition may lead to improved treatments for autism spectrum disorders that strike an estimated 1 in 110 U.S children.

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New research in mice finds a link between common flame retardants and autism-like learning deficits.
Thursday, 16 February 2012 05:59 PM
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