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Wendy Klag Center for Autism & Developmental Disabilities

ECHO Autism Spectrum Disorder baby teeth project

Johns Hopkins School of Public Health is one of 13 sites involved in the Autism Spectrum Disorder Enriched Risk Cohort (ASD-ER) study that is part of the larger NIH Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) project.  The ASD-ER project collects a unique biosample -- children's baby teeth -- to explore what substances a child was exposed to while in the womb. 

lost tooth stock image

Craig Newschaffer, PhD, who is Principal Investigator of the EARLI Network at Drexel University, serves as the PI of the overall ASD-ER cohort.  Locally at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Heather Volk, PhD, serves as the Principal Investigator for the ASD-ER project, and EARLI PI Dani Fallin, PhD, is a co-investigator. 

The Maryland-area families who were part of the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI Study) are being recontacted and invited to take part in this new phase, which collects the shed baby teeth of children who were followed in EARLI from fetal life until age 3. All of these children have an older sibling with ASD, which puts them at greater risk of having ASD themselves although most are typically developing. Specifically, ECHO ASD-ER investigators want to analyze these teeth for persistent organic pollutants such as pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls and phthalates, as well as to analyze metals exposures.