New research suggests babies’ teeth, which develop long before they emerge, can help predict autism.
“What we found was that even before we are born, certain, essential elements are not metabolized or regulated well in those children who end up developing autism,” says Dr. Manish Arora of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “The two elements that we found to be most dysregulated are zinc and copper.”
This copper and zinc dysregulation can be found by drilling tiny holes through baby teeth and analyzing the way those elements are embedded in the growth rings of teeth.
This discovery is important, because it allows for early detection—something experts say plays a vital role in how high-functioning an individual with autism is.
“We can hopefully develop an early warning system, a biomarker or an assay, a test that allows us to tell mothers and fathers that their child is perhaps at higher risk,” Arora said.