Genetic Mutation a cause of Autism?

Autism in today’s society has became a very heated discussion. What exactly is it? What causes it? Are vaccines a cause, how about diet? Is there a way we can prevent it? Many speculate, yet research has yet to distinctively prove the root cause.

According to the CDC, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) occurs in approximately 1 out of every 110 children and in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. It is four to five times more likely to occur in boys than girls. Current estimates show 36,500 born annually in the U.S. with ASD, and approximately 730,000 between the ages of 0-21 that are living with it.

It is estimated that about 10% of children with an ASD have an identifiable genetic, neurologic or metabolic disorder, although multiple factors combine to create autism and no one factor can be held responsible for creating the disorder.

Yet, as previously stated, research has now became paramount in figuring out what exactly is going on in the lives of children.

In a recent report coming from Health News, the author Lynn Walbrecht, focuses on new research that claim genetic mutations may be a possible cause of autism.

The three studies, all recently published, contain the common theme of genetic mutations, and may very well be the cause of autism in children where there has been no history of ASD in the family.

Two of the studies published in the journal Neuron describe a series of genetic variants that boost the risk of autism. The third study sheds light on how these disrupted genes tend to take aim at a particular target – the formation of the brain’s synapses, or junctions that allow signals to be passed between neurons.

The researchers studied a region of the human genome, 7q11.23, which can produce autism if mutated. The genomes of more than 1,000 families in which one child was autistic and the siblings and parents were not, were examined and found strong evidence that genetic mutation is responsible for autism in some cases.

When this particular human genome is altered, research tends to prove that it may produce autism in an individual or causes a completely opposite, extra-friendly disorder called Williams syndrome.

People with Williams syndrome may be extremely trusting of strangers and have a particular affection for music but may also exhibit developmental disabilities, learning disorders and disfigurement of the face and hands.

“This region of the genome could be a Rosetta Stone for studying the development of the social brain,” said Matthew State, lead author of the Yale study.

Treatment for autism is varied and dependent upon a child’s needs.

This particular article states that to find out more information, they recommend the newly published book, Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism 2011-2012, by Ken Siri and Tony Lyons. The sixty-seven chapters present various therapies and innovations in autism treatment. Also included are an extensive bibliography and a thorough presentation of national and international autism organizations.

Health News has also published a listing of the Top 5 Autism-Related Organizations to turn to for information, education, and assistance. These organizations are National Autism Association, Autism Speaks, U.S. Autism and Asperger Association, Autism Society of America, and Center for Autism and Related Disorders.


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