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Dr. Dongmei Wu made progresses in her research area highlighting Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)


Autism spectrum disorder(ASD) is a range ofneurodevelopmental  disorderscharacterized  by problems in social  communication and social interaction, delayed  speech and language skills, and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior  or interests. In addition to genetic risk factors, many antenatal and  perinatal risk factors associated with ASD include maternal gestational diabetes, bleeding after first trimester and so on. Mechanism  research showed that neuroinflammation is also closely related to the onset  of ASD. Previous studies showed that low level of Vitamin D might be a risk  factor for ASD. However,relatively  little is known about the prevalence of ASDs in our country. It is necessary  to study the relationship between vitamin D status and ASDs in the Chinese children.


Figure 1. The 25(OH)D3 level in  different groups. (A) The median 25(OH)D3 level was significantly lower in children with ASDs as  compared to controls (17.6 nmol/L [IQR, 12.4 to 27.4 nmol/L] versus 40.2  nmol/L [IQR, 27.7 to 48.8 nmol/L]; Z=11.967,  p<0.0001). (B) The median 25(OH)D3 level was significantly lower in children who had an  ID as compared with those who did not have an ID (17.3 nmol/L [IQR, 12.6 to  25.9 nmol/L] versus 40.5 nmol/L [IQR, 27.8 to 49.0 nmol/L]; Z=12.986, p<0.0001).  ASD: autism spectrum disorder; 25(OH)D3: 25 hydroxyvitamin D3.

In our study, we first reported that the prevalenceof childhood autism in children aged 3 years in Beijing, China, was 1.11% (boys:1.65%; girls: 0.52%). In addition, we also found that neonatal vitamin D statuswas significantly associated with the risk of ASDs and ID in China children(Figure 1). There is now clear evidence that vitamin D, a neurosteroid, isinvolved in brain development. Vitamin D might also reduce the risk or severityof autism through its anti-inflammatory actions and anti-autoimmune effects.Therefore, vitamin D deficiency might play a part in the etiology of autism.However, whether neonates with vitamin D deficiency should be supplemented withvitamin D3, in order to maintain their 25(OH)D3 concentrations optimally toprevent ASDs requires further long-term controlled clinical trials. Referred to‘Relationship Between Neonatal Vitamin D at Birth and Risk of Autism SpectrumDisorders: the NBSIB Study’, published in the《Journal of Bone and Mineral Research》