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Air Pollution, Genes Tied to Autism

Jenny McCarthy believes child immunization causes autism.

gamescoreblog/FlickrJenny McCarthy believes child immunization causes autism.

Further debunking the idiotic ravings of non-scientist celebrities (in this case we're looking in Jenny McCarthy's direction), USC researchers this week found further correlation between dirty air and autism.

See also: Dear Jenny McCarthy: Autism Study Linking Disorder to Vaccination Was 'Elaborate Fraud'

USC academics previously discovered that children raised near freeways were twice as likely to be diagnosed as autistic. Now there's this:

In a study to be published in next month's edition of the journal Epidemiology, USC Keck School of Medicine academics found that genetics and exposure to air pollution correlate with autism in young ones.

Heather E. Volk of Keck:

Our research shows that children with both the risk genotype and exposure to high air-pollutant levels were at increased risk of autism spectrum disorder compared to those without the risk genotype and lower air pollution exposure.

The Trojan researchers looked at 408 children between 2 and 5 years of age who had risk of autism either through genetics or their local environments and found more than half "met the criteria for autism or autism spectrum disorder," according to USC.

Though both genetics and environment have been previously correlated to autism, the university says this is the first time researchers have linked both factors to autism.

See also: Sorry, Jenny McCarthy: USC Study Finds Children Raised Near Freeways Twice as Likely to Be Autistic.

Daniel B. Campbell of the Keck school:

Although gene-environment interactions are widely believed to contribute to autism risk, this is the first demonstration of a specific interaction between a well-established genetic risk factor and an environmental factor that independently contribute to autism risk.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.