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Your Environment. Your Health.

PEPH E-News April 2013

Volume 4, Issue 4: April 2013

PEPH E-News Header

Welcome to the April edition of PEPH Newsletter!

Some of our PEPH colleagues focus their work on understanding the environmental contributions to autism spectrum disorders. These neurological disorders affect as many as 1 in 88 children according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since International Autism Day is April 2nd, we thought it would be appropriate to highlight two recent publications from PEPH grantees who are exploring links between environmental exposures and autism.

You can contribute to the dialogue on environmental public health by sharing highlights and new materials. Have you developed educational outreach materials on environmental contributions to autism? Let us know! Send us your news or event announcements for the next PEPH Newsletter! Email us ( to subscribe, and please forward this newsletter to your colleagues.

Air Pollution, Particulate Matter, and Inflammation as Contributing Factors in Autism

Autism is a complex, heterogeneous neurological disorder that now affects nearly 1 in 88 children. Investigators are researching possible causes of autism, and genetic and environmental factors are likely to contribute.

Heather Volk, Ph.D., M.P.H. with collaborators Rob McConnell, M.D. and Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Ph.D., M.P.H. published a report linking traffic related air pollution and regional air quality exposure to risk of autism. This data expanded on previous studies of roadway distance, as a proxy for traffic pollution exposure, and autism risk. Their population-based case-control study suggests that exposure to traffic related air pollution and criteria pollutants (e.g., nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter) during pregnancy and the first year of life is associated with autism. "This study helps support the growing evidence that air pollution exposure, potentially acting through the immune system, can affect the developing brain and may have a role in autism spectrum disorders," stated Volk. Dr. Hertz-Picciotto added that with recent scientific advancements, "Air pollution and inflammatory pathways present intriguing possibilities for future prevention efforts." The study was part of the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) study in collaboration with the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis .

In a separate study, Alan Brown, M.D., M.P.H. , and his team at Columbia University, reported that increased maternal inflammation markers were significantly associated with increased risk of autism in their children. Increased maternal inflammation could be an indication of maternal infections, which have also been linked to increased autism risks. "If replicated, the findings may have implications for preventive approaches and a better understanding of the pathogenesis of autism," said Dr. Brown.

Iowa Researcher's Community Engagement Work in PEPH Highlights

From Africa to Michigan, Edith Parker, Dr.PH. , has tremendous experience in community-engaged research and communication. She is an author on a recently published article about communication and exposure beliefs. She is the director of the Community Outreach and Engagement Core at the University of Iowa Environmental Health Sciences Research Center . Read about her work in our PEPH Grantee Highlights.

Epigenetics and Child Health Webinar

Epigenetics in children's health is a common theme in two talks featured at the next NIEHS/EPA webinar. Dana Dolinoy, Ph.D. , and Joe Wiemels, Ph.D., will discuss obesity, puberty, and leukemia in the context of children's environmental health. April 10, 2013, 1:00–2:30 pm ET. Register online.

PEPH Podcast on Breast Cancer and the Environment

A new podcast in the PEPH series, Environmental Health Chat, discusses Breast Cancer and the Environment. Sandra Haslam, Ph.D. , and Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. , discuss roles of hormone disruption and inflammatory processes in breast cancer. Coming in April, we will release a second podcast on the same topic highlighting the importance of translating research.

TED Offers Talk Tips for Effective Communication

Are you looking for creative ways to communicate complex scientific information? One possible tool is 6341TED talks . TED offers an excellent Speaker's Guide and the TED Commandments (see the bottom of the page) with tips for powerful presentations that you might use in talks for a wide range of audiences. Interesting examples include a glimpse into the future of medical technologies and improving science teaching and communication.

NIMHD Translational Health Disparities Course

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities is hosting a free intensive specialized course on concepts, principles, methods, and applications of health disparities science, practice, and policy. The course will be in Bethesda, Maryland from August 5–16, 2013. Applications due May 15, 2013. Space is limited.

CDC "In the Know" Social Media Webcast Series

The CDC National Prevention Information Network (NPIN) offers a webcast series called "In the Know: Social Media for Public Health " There will be two April webcasts: Gaming and Mobile; and Facebook and Image Sharing. Archived webcasts are available.

EPA Community Engagement Initiative Comments Sought

EPA's Community Engagement Initiative works to promote and enhance community involvement in Superfund and other waste cleanup programs. EPA seeks comments on a draft compendium of engagement practices, and suggestions for other community engagement activities. Deadline for comments: May 31, 2013.

Upcoming PEPH-Related Meetings

April 3–5, 2013: "National Environmental Justice Conference and Training Program " in Washington, D.C.

June 17–20, 2013: "2013 URISA GIS in Public Health Conference " in Miami, Florida, on the use of GIS for public health access, processes, and decision-making.

July 9–11, 2013: National Environmental Health Association's "2013 Annual Educational Conference & Exhibition " in Washington, D.C.

July 29–31, 2013: "Environmental Health Disparities and Environmental Justice Meeting" in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Visit the Web page to Learn about the meeting objectives!

Funding Opportunities

Visit the PEPH Funding Opportunity Announcements page for more PEPH-related funding opportunities.

Mechanism for Time-Sensitive Research Opportunities when an unpredictable opportunity has arisen to collect human biosamples or exposure data, and rapid review and funding is needed. Monthly due dates; next due date May 1, 2013.

Research to Action: Assessing and Addressing Community Exposures to Environmental Contaminants (R01). Next deadline (new R01): June 5, 2013.

Understanding and Promoting Health Literacy. Learn more about the different institutes' interest in health literacy. Note NIEHS emphasis on Environmental Health Literacy. Standard due dates: June 5, 2013 (R01); June 16, 2013 (R21 and R03 ).

Behavioral and Social Science Research on Understanding and Reducing Health Disparities (R01 and R21 ). Deadlines: Letter of Intent April 11, 2013; Application May 11, 2013.

Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) of Genomic Research (upcoming 2013 deadlines: new R01 - June 5; new R03 and R21 - June 16; renewal - July 5).

Science for Sustainable and Healthy Tribes (EPA STAR Program) . Deadline: June 25, 2013. EPA will hold three webinars to discuss this RFA and respond to questions. Dates will be posted online .


Do you have an announcement to share with the PEPH community? Send us your news for the next issue of the PEPH Newsletter (

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