How environmental toxins affect neurodevelopment

Child Neurologist Jane Tavyev Asher, MD, explains how environmental toxins can impact a child's neurodevelopment and what parents can do to protect their children from environmental toxins
How Environmental Toxins Affect Neurodevelopment In Children
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How environmental toxins affect neurodevelopment

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Environmental toxins can have pretty significant effects on neurodevelopment. The reason why is that neurodevelopment occurs very early in a child's life. A lot of neurodevelopment occurs in utero, or while the baby is still in the mommy's tummy, during pregnancy. A greater proportion of neurodevelopment occurs during the first 3 years of life as the brain is growing and changing. During this time, so many changes are taking place, so many cells are dividing, so many key processes are happening that involve hormonal influences and other neurotransmitter influences. And environmental toxins can mimic some of the hormones that we have in our body that give the signals to the cells of what to do. And some environmental toxins can actually damage DNA directly. So the critical time for environmental toxins to affect neurodevelopment is actually the younger the person is. So in utero or during pregnancy or during the early years of life, the same amount of an environmental toxin could potentially have a greater effect than it would on an older adult.

Child Neurologist Jane Tavyev Asher, MD, explains how environmental toxins can impact a child's neurodevelopment and what parents can do to protect their children from environmental toxins

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Jane Tavyev Asher, MD

Division of Child Neurology - Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Dr. Jane Tavyev Asher is a board certified Child Neurologist and Director of the Division of Child Neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.  Upon attaining her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine, she completed residency/ fellowship training in Child Neurology and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at Baylor College of Medicine/ Texas Children’s Hospital, where her clinical training focused on behavioral neurology, specializing in autism and other developmental disorders, and her research focused on epigenetic factors in autism.  She currently maintains a clinical practice at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where she sees patients with a variety of neurologic conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, developmental delay, ADHD, learning disabilities, tics, headaches, and cognitive/ behavioral management in neuromuscular disorders.  She holds an academic/ research appointment as Assistant Professor at UCLA in the Departments of Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.  Her current research interest remains in the area of autism.  Dr. Tavyev Asher is proud to contribute to the training of the next generation of physicians including those specializing in Pediatrics, Child Psychiatry, and Child and Adult Neurology, and she enjoys giving talks on various neurologic topics locally and nationally.  She is a member of the Child Neurology Society, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UCLA CART (Center for Autism Research and Treatment), and The Help Group-UCLA Autism Research Alliance.  She also serves on the Advisory Board of Healthy Child Healthy Child Healthy World.  She enjoys art, music, yoga, skiing, and relaxing with her family.

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