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Prenatal and First Year Air Pollution Exposure and Autistic-like Behaviors in Childhood: The Cincinnati Combined Childhood Cohorts

Iyanna, Nidhi (2022) Prenatal and First Year Air Pollution Exposure and Autistic-like Behaviors in Childhood: The Cincinnati Combined Childhood Cohorts. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a common childhood neurodevelopmental disorder, emphasizing the need to identify modifiable risk factors. While genetics play a strong role, evidence suggests that air pollution exposure to be neurotoxic. Air pollutants have been associated with numerous neurobehavioral outcomes, yet little research has examined its association with autistic-like behaviors. Few studies have investigated this association, but no consensus has been reached and the window of susceptibility has not been determined. Our goal was to explore the association between NO2, PM2.5, and traffic-related air pollutants (TRAP) exposure during pregnancy and the first year of life to ASD-related behaviors.
The study population, Cincinnati Combined Childhood Cohort, combines participants from the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study and the Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment Study. Daily exposure to NO2 and PM2.5 and monthly exposure to TRAP at the residential addresses of C4 participants were calculated retrospectively using validated temporally adjusted, land use regression models and averaged to obtain prenatal and first year exposure estimates. ASD-like behaviors were assessed via the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) questionnaire. Linear regression models compared estimated pollutant levels and SRS scores.
In univariate models, prenatal and first year of life exposure to NO2 were positively associated with total SRS T-scores with an estimated 2.3 point increase (95% CI: 0.3, 4.4) and 3.1 point (95% CI: 0.9, 5.3) per 10 ppb increase in NO2 exposure, respectively. For PM2.5, a 10 ug/m3 increase in exposure during the first year was significantly associated with a 10.1 point increase (95% CI: 0.1, 20.1) in SRS Total T-scores. After adjustment for covariates, all associations were no longer significant; however, the direction of association remained positive. No statistically significant associations were observed for TRAP exposures.
Exposure to NO2, PM2.5, and TRAP during pregnancy and the first year of life were not significantly associated with increased autistic-like behaviors measured by SRS scores after adjustment of covariates. Our research adds to previous inconsistent findings, suggesting that additional research is needed, especially since ASD has lifelong implications, and the global prevalence of elevated air pollution is substantial.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Iyanna, Nidhinii7@pitt.edunii7
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTalbott, Evelyneot1@pitt.edueot1UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberGale, Richardsongar@pitt.edugarUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberPatrick, Ryanpatrick.ryan@cchmc.orgUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 17 May 2022
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 20 April 2022
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 50
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: air pollution, autism, NO2, PM2.5, social responsiveness scale
Date Deposited: 17 May 2022 15:25
Last Modified: 17 May 2024 05:15


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