A study reveals that boys may be more at risk than girls for hospital admission when autistic children are exposed to air pollution, even for relatively brief periods of time. By limiting these children’ exposure to air pollution, the study, which was published in the journal BMJ Open, revealed that admissions for problems like hyperactivity, aggression, or self-injury might be averted.
A neurodevelopmental disorder with a wide range of symptoms and severity is autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Since neuroinflammation and systemic inflammation are frequently present, the primary symptoms can be alleviated by medications, dietary changes, and supplements. Short-term (days to weeks) exposure to air pollution is thought to cause neuroinflammation and systemic inflammatory, potentially raising the risk of hospitalisation in autistic individuals.
The researcher, from Seoul National University Hospital in Korea, based their findings on daily hospital admissions for autism among kids between the ages of 5 and 14 between 2011 and 2015. For up to six days, they gathered data on the national daily levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ozone (O3) in each of the Republic of Korea’s 16 regions.
During the study period, autistic children had an average of 8.5 hospital admissions per day, with boys having a much greater rate (7) than girls (1.6). The results of the data analysis revealed that boys were more at risk than girls for hospital admission for autism and that short-term exposure to PM2.5, NO2, and O3 was related with a heightened risk. According to the study, an increase in PM2.5 levels of 10 g/m3 was linked to a 17% increased chance of hospital admission for autism.
According to them, a 10% increase in NO2 and a 3% increase in O3 were linked to a 9% and 3% higher risk, respectively. With NO2 having the largest effects, the researchers concluded that exposure to these pollutants was related with a one-quartile rise, which equates to a 29% higher probability of hospital admission for autism. The researchers admitted that using regional rather than individual air pollution levels may have had an impact on the results.
They added that mildly symptomatic autistic children might be less likely to receive psychiatric care and might not have been included. According to the study’s findings, short-term air pollution exposure worsens ASD symptoms, which are more severe in boys than in girls.
“These results emphasise that reduction of air pollution exposure should be considered for ASD symptom management, with important implications for the quality of life and economic costs,” they said.