Since the number of children being diagnosed with autism continues to increase, the research and studies continue to grow as well. Many overlap or years later, they are taken to the next level as our understanding of the science increases. This is such a study.
From the adapted version on Medpage - Baby Teeth May Predict Autism - Zinc and copper metabolism biomarker may lead to new diagnostic tools
Zinc and copper metabolism cycles in the layers of baby teeth may be able to predict which children will develop autism spectrum disorder, a longitudinal analysis suggests.
This is the first study to generate a 90% accurate fetal and early childhood biomarker of autism by tracking metabolic pathways over time and could lead to new diagnostic tools...the researchers found that children who later developed autism had disrupted zinc-copper rhythmicity in utero or in their earliest months of life...We looked at the naturally shed teeth of children and explored them much as you would explore the growth rings of a tree, using them as a sort of retrospective biomarker to see what children were exposed to in the womb and in early life...Prenatal and newborn children form a new tooth layer daily, which captures an imprint of chemicals circulating in the body and produces a chronological exposure record. Zinc and copper pathways are central regulators of multiple metals; disruption of the pathways may have downstream effects that may affect the metabolism of other essential elements and toxic metals.
TOXIC METALS. We don’t see those words enough but there are dozens and dozens of studies showing that environmental toxins are connected to the spectrum of autism.
Here is some very good research on the issues of copper/zinc in the human body .
Important theme from the above new, autism study. Mercury has become a dirty word in autism research. Also that study seems pretty much targeted as a diagnostic tool. There are thousands of children and young adults who would benefit from research dealing with helping them feel and function better. Let’s hope there will be more about that. But here we can see that the issue of copper and zinc is not new in autism. The idea of “disrupted zinc-copper rhythmicity” is new and helpful but let’s look backwards as well:
The frequency of zinc deficiency, copper toxicity and low zinc/copper in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) may indicate decrement in metallothionein system functioning....The plasma zinc/serum copper ratio may be a biomarker of heavy metal, particularly mercury, toxicity in children with ASDs.
The role of zinc and copper in autism spectrum disorders, 2013 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23823984
Several studies have suggested a disturbance in the copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) metabolism in ASDs....Zinc deficiency, excess Cu levels, and low Zn/Cu ratio are common in children diagnosed with an ASD. The literature also suggests that mercury accumulation may occur as a cause or consequence of metallothionein (MT) dysfunction in children diagnosed with an ASD, which may be one of the causes of Zn deficiency.
Zn/Cu Levels in the Field of Autism Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, 2015 Autumn
Low Zn/Cu ratios can be associated with total body Zn deficiency or accumulation of toxic metals, which can act as Zn-antagonists. Hg toxicity may be a major cause of MT dysfunction in children diagnosed with ASD, which may be reflected in the Zn/Cu ratio...The plasma zinc/serum copper ratio may be a biomarker of heavy metal, particularly mercury, toxicity in children with ASDs....
The results indicate that the ASD children were characterized by ~10 % (p = 0.005) and ~12 % (p = 0.015) lower levels of whole blood Zn and Zn/Cu ratio, respectively, in comparison to controls.
As researchers continue their search to both identify and help those with autism, especially the severe type with pain and suffering, we must look at the patterns and connections. There is a large connection of autism with the immune system, and this too is a part of the copper, zinc relationship . The environment is also connected and the microbiome and yes, copper and zinc are important biomarkers