Possible Causes Of Autism
Over the years, researchers have focused on whether autism is a genetic disorder or if it is caused by environmental factors. Many theories point to a combination of genetic and environmental causes or to chemical imbalances within the body. In most cases, scientists need to conduct more research to determine if the theory is legitimate.
What Is The Difference Between Autism And Autism Spectrum Disorder
The term autism was changed to autism spectrum disorder in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association. ASD is now an umbrella term that covers the following conditions:
- Autistic disorder.
- Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified .
- Asperger syndrome.
People with ASD have trouble with social interactions and with interpreting and using non-verbal and verbal communication in social contexts. Individuals with ASD may also have the following difficulties:
- Inflexible interests.
- Insistence on sameness in environment or routine.
- Repetitive motor and sensory behaviors, like flapping arms or rocking.
- Increased or decreased reactions to sensory stimuli.
How well someone with ASD can function in day-to-day life depends on the severity of their symptoms. Given that autism varies widely in severity and everyday impairment, the symptoms of some people arent always easily recognized.
Autism Is Not An Illness
Being autistic does not mean you have an illness or disease. It means your brain works in a different way from other people.
It’s something you’re born with or first appears when you’re very young.
If you’re autistic, you’re autistic your whole life.
Autism is not a medical condition with treatments or a “cure”. But some people need support to help them with certain things.
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What To Do About An Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis
For most people, an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis occurs during childhood. Parents who know that they have a history of ASD in their family tree should be on the lookout for potential signs in their children.
- Rocking back and forth constantly and other repetitious movements
- Sensitive to loud noises, being touched, and other sensory issues
- Has trouble making eye-contact
- Being a very picky eater
- Coordination issues
- Performing rituals or being attached to routines
- Struggling with change
Again, the Mayo Clinic advises certain benchmarks to be aware of for childhood development. For instance, if by six months a newborn doesnt respond to their parent by smiling or has a happy expression on their face, that could be a problem. Or if by nine months, they are not mimicking your facial expressions or sounds. Moreover, if by the time they are 16 months, your child is not saying individual words, that too could be a sign something is wrong.
Its important, though, to get a diagnosis from a clinician and not get too wrapped up in assumptions.
Researchers still dont know why exactly autism spectrum disorders occur. However, its important to remember that just because someone has an autism spectrum disorder that doesnt mean they cant live a full and productive life. This is especially true if a diagnosis is made early and intervention measures are taken.
Genetic Causes And Modifiers Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Department of Physiology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, United States
Autism Spectrum Disorder is one of the most prevalent neurodevelopmental disorders, affecting an estimated 1 in 59 children. ASD is highly genetically heterogeneous and may be caused by both inheritable and de novo gene variations. In the past decade, hundreds of genes have been identified that contribute to the serious deficits in communication, social cognition, and behavior that patients often experience. However, these only account for 1020% of ASD cases, and patients with similar pathogenic variants may be diagnosed on very different levels of the spectrum. In this review, we will describe the genetic landscape of ASD and discuss how genetic modifiers such as copy number variation, single nucleotide polymorphisms, and epigenetic alterations likely play a key role in modulating the phenotypic spectrum of ASD patients. We also consider how genetic modifiers can alter convergent signaling pathways and lead to impaired neural circuitry formation. Lastly, we review sex-linked modifiers and clinical implications. Further understanding of these mechanisms is crucial for both comprehending ASD and for developing novel therapies.
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Where Can I Get More Information
For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network at:
Office of Communications and Public LiaisonNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892
NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.
Can Diet Have An Impact On Autism
Theres no specific diet designed for autistic people. Nevertheless, some autism advocates are exploring dietary changes as a way to help minimize behavioral issues and increase overall quality of life.
An autism diet may instead focus on whole foods, such as:
Those advocates believe that gluten creates inflammation and adverse bodily reactions in certain autistic people. However, scientific research is inconclusive on the relationship between autism, gluten, and another protein known as casein.
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Vaccinations As An Alleged Cause Of Autism
A theory that is very popular among parents is that vaccines that use thimerosal as a preservative are to blame for the prevalence increase in cases of autism. Popularity in this theory may because the characteristics of autism often appear at around the same age vaccinations are carried out. Nevertheless, the link is inconclusive. Ip et al compared hair and blood mercury levels in autistic children with those of non-autistic controls and found a 10% increase in blood and hair mercury levels of autistic children, which is not statistically significant. Their results are questionable in that they chose to analyze mercury levels in children who were already diagnosed with autism.
If exposure to mercury at a particular stage in a childs development were to make that child more susceptible to autism, studying children who already have autism will not find this link. Furthermore, their study looks at children with an average age of approximately seven years, whereas early onset autism has onset prior to age three years . A more appropriate study would involve mercury levels in children prior to age three years.
How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Treated
ASD is most often a life-long condition. Both children and adults with autism benefit from behavioral interventions or therapies that can teach new skills to address the core deficits of autism and to reduce the core symptoms. Every child and adult with autism is unique. For this reason, the treatment plan is individualized to meet specific needs. It is best to begin interventions as soon as possible, so the benefits of therapy can continue on throughout the course of life.
Many people with ASD often have additional medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal and feeding issues, seizures and sleep disturbances. Treatment can involve behavioral therapy, medications or both.
Early intensive behavioral treatments involves the entire family and possibly a team of professionals. As your child ages and develops, treatment may be modified to cater to their specific needs.
During adolescence, children benefit from transition services that promote skills of independence essential in adulthood. The focus at that point is on employment opportunities and job skill training.
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Autism Causes The Reality
Nobody has really nailed down the exact cause of autism. Although there are some highly confident studies on causation, most everything you hear is simply speculation and statistics at this point. Some of these studies are well done and have convinced us of some connections. Hopefully, there will be more answers as more studies and trials are implemented going forward.
There has been much speculation about vaccines causing autism. To date, there has been no scientific evidence to back this assumption. There can be possible catalysts to expedite the symptoms, but even that is speculation.
With that in mind, heres what science speculates, so far, as possible causes. This list is in no specific order.
What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder refers to a group of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by repetitive and characteristic patterns of behavior and difficulties with social communication and interaction. The symptoms are present from early childhood and affect daily functioning.
The term spectrum refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability in functioning that can occur in people with ASD. Some children and adults with ASD are fully able to perform all activities of daily living while others require substantial support to perform basic activities. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders includes Asperger syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorders not otherwise specified as part of ASD rather than as separate disorders. A diagnosis of ASD includes an assessment of intellectual disability and language impairment.
ASD occurs in every racial and ethnic group, and across all socioeconomic levels. However, boys are significantly more likely to develop ASD than girls. The latest analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 68 children has ASD.
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Avoid Any Chemical Exposure During Pregnancy
Chemicals like drugs, serotonin, alcohols and seizure medicines like valproic acid contain the potential cause of Autism. So, try avoiding the use of these chemicals during pregnancy unless your doctor specially prescribes them. The valproic acid is for the treatment of convulsions, seizures, migraine headache, and bipolar disorder so, avoid these drugs during pregnancy if you have any of the above disorder.
Insight Into Possible Causes Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Advanced maternal age during pregnancy is thought to be one of the possible causes of autism spectrum disorder. Other things thought to possibly contribute to development of the disorder include:
- use of medications during pregnancy
- bleeding while pregnant
- gestational diabetes
- other complications of pregnancy
But none of these possible causes are proven. Much more research is needed to prove or disprove these maternal influences.
Autism is a symptom of several known neurological disorders, supporting the theory that it is a biologically based disorder. These neurological disorders include:
- Fragile X syndrome
- Tuberous sclerosis
- Cerebral dysgenesis
- Rett syndrome
- Metabolic or biochemical defects
Brain studies have shown that individuals with autism have brain structure abnormalities. We also know that if a close family member has autism, the risk of other family members having it is greater. Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism. It’s likely that autism develops due to genetic issues that result in neurological or biological differences in the brain.
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Early Diagnosis And Treatment Of Hereditary And Celiac Diseases
The hereditary diseases like phenylketonuria is caused by the deficiency of a liver enzyme and are required to digest phenylalanine. The early diagnosis and treatment of phenylketonuria can reduce the chances of having an Autistic child after pregnancy. Similarly, the celiac diseases diagnosis and treatment can also reduce the potential chances of the child having Autism.
Causes And Risk Factors
We do not know all of the causes of ASD. However, we have learned that there are likely many causes for multiple types of ASD. There may be many different factors that make a child more likely to have an ASD, including environmental, biologic and genetic factors.
- Most scientists agree that genes are one of the risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop ASD.4, 19
- Children who have a sibling with ASD are at a higher risk of also having ASD. 5-10
- Individuals with certain genetic or chromosomal conditions, such as fragile X syndrome or tuberous sclerosis, can have a greater chance of having ASD. 11-14, 20
- When taken during pregnancy, the prescription drugs valproic acid and thalidomide have been linked with a higher risk of ASD.15-16
- There is some evidence that the critical period for developing ASD occurs before, during, and immediately after birth. 17
- Children born to older parents are at greater risk for having ASD. 18
ASD continues to be an important public health concern. Like the many families living with ASD, CDC wants to find out what causes the disorder. Understanding the factors that make a person more likely to develop ASD will help us learn more about the causes. We are currently working on one of the largest U.S. studies to date, called Study to Explore Early Development . SEED is looking at many possible risk factors for ASD, including genetic, environmental, pregnancy, and behavioral factors.
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Diagnosis Of Autism: What We Do Know
Autistic children benefit from early diagnosis, preferably in the first two years of life. Early diagnosis allows behavioral therapy or other treatments to begin early when it seems to be most effective. If you are concerned about your child, talk to your doctor about a referral to see a specialist who can help determine if follow-up is needed. Signs of autism may include symptoms such as:
- no babbling or pointing by age 1
- no single words by 16 months or two-word phrases by age 2
- no response to name
- loss of language or social skills
- poor eye contact
Students Will Use The Internet To Find At Least Four Scholarly Resources To Answer The Following Questions Related To Autism: What Are The Possible Early Signs/symptoms Of Autism What Are The P
Students will use the internet to find at leastfour scholarly resources to answer the following questions related to autism: What are the possible early signs/symptoms of autism? What are the proposed origins/causes of autism? What are the most effective treatments for autism? What is the prognosis/outcome for a person who is being treated for autism? What would you do if an infant of a close friend or family member began showing signs of autism?Please include your sources in your paper Ã¢â¬â either after each question. You must have a different web source for each of the questions.Please type a paper answering the above questions formatting it in the following manner: 12 font Times Roman, double spaced.List each question followed by at least one Ã¢â¬ÅlongÃ¢â¬Â paragraph with information answering the question. Below each paragraph copy and paste the source site from which you retrieved the informationYou must have a Ã¢â¬ËdifferentÃ¢â¬â¢ resource site for the first four questions. Paper should be longer than one page.
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Brain Development And Autism
The brain develops differently in autistic children compared with typically developing children.
In young children, the brain is developing all the time. Every time a child does something or responds to something, connections in the brain are reinforced and become stronger.
Over time, the connections that arent reinforced disappear theyre pruned away as theyre not needed. This pruning is how the brain makes room for important connections those needed for everyday actions and responses, like walking, talking or understanding emotions.
In autistic children, the brain tends to grow faster than average during early childhood, especially during the first three years of life. The brains of autistic babies appear to have more cells than they need, as well as poor connections between the cells.
Also, pruning doesnt seem to happen as much in autistic children. This means that information might be lost or sent through the wrong connections. The lack of pruning might also explain why the brain seems to be growing faster in autistic children than in typically developing children.
Its not yet clear what causes this difference in brain development.
What Disorders Are Related To Asd
Certain known genetic disorders are associated with an increased risk for autism, including Fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis each of which results from a mutation in a single, but different, gene. Recently, researchers have discovered other genetic mutations in children diagnosed with autism, including some that have not yet been designated as named syndromes. While each of these disorders is rare, in aggregate, they may account for 20 percent or more of all autism cases.
People with ASD also have a higher than average risk of having epilepsy. Children whose language skills regress early in life before age 3 appear to have a risk of developing epilepsy or seizure-like brain activity. About 20 to 30 percent of children with ASD develop epilepsy by the time they reach adulthood. Additionally, people with both ASD and intellectual disability have the greatest risk of developing seizure disorder.