How the toxins in the environment can change development

Child Neurologist Jane Tavyev Asher, MD, explains how how toxins in the environment can negatively affect development in children
How Toxins In The Environment Can Change Development In Kids
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How the toxins in the environment can change development

So one of the main mechanisms that environmental toxins can affect children is through epigenetic changes. So epigenetic changes are defined by changes that affect the genome. So the genome is present in each cell of our body, and we have about 30K different genes in each cell of our body. And there are very specific factors that tell each cell and the genes in these different cells to turn on and make certain proteins, or turn off certain regions of that genome. That's why you can have all of the cells in your body can have the same genetic information, and yet some of the cells make an eye, and some of the cells make a liver, and some of the cells make your heart. They actually all have the exact same genetic information; however, there are very specific signals that tell that cell what to do. It's sort of like thinking about a cookbook. Every cell has the same cookbook, but some instructions say go to page 43 and make this recipe. Go to page 257 and make this recipe. Not each cell makes all the same recipes of the cookbook. Now environmental toxins can basically either open the cookbook to the wrong page and make the cell produce the wrong recipe or it can make actual errors to the DNA which would be like changing around the order of some of the instructions in the recipe. So when that occurs, we do have processes in our body that look to clear out these mechanisms if there are errors. But if enough cells are working incorrectly at the same time, the body can't notice all of that, and some of the wrong recipes so to speak can be made.

Child Neurologist Jane Tavyev Asher, MD, explains how how toxins in the environment can negatively affect development in children


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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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