Could fish offer insight into autism?

Could fish offer insight into autism?

Fresh water fish could provide new insight into how certain medication effects the development of autism.

Fathead minnows were exposed to three psychoactive pharmaceuticals at levels comparable to those found in the environment, including water sources.

Researchers led by Michael Thomas of Idaho State University found evidence that even at very low dosages the medicines may have had an effect on genes in the fish associated with idiopathic autism spectrum disorders.

Mr Thomas said: "While others have envisioned a causal role for psychotropic drugs in idiopathic autism, we were astonished to find evidence that this might occur at very low dosages, such as those found in aquatic systems."

Speaking to the Daily Mail, National Autistic Society head of information, advice and advocacy said that understanding of the environmental factors affecting autism is still very limited.

"We need to be cautious when looking at these findings," she noted, adding that there is not enough evidence to draw any firm conclusions.

Find out about Barchester's support for adults and children with a wide range of Autistic spectrum conditions.