The causes of autism are not yet known with certainty. Recent research suggests a link between genetic susceptibility and environmental agents. Indeed, there is evidence that no one factor causes autism and that perhaps there exists a synergy among several agents. This view is based upon the range of symptoms of autism and severity among those who are diagnosed as autistic.
There has been an apparent rise in the occurrence of autism since about 1980, but the root causes of autism have not been found. There is speculation that better diagnostic techniques have uncovered symptoms of autism and cases that would otherwise have gone unrecognized.
Research indicates tentatively that 90% of the autism cases have a genetic link. A specific gene of interest is the Engrailed 2 (EN2) gene, which may account for 40% of autism cases. It is significant in normal neural development. If the gene’s expression is disrupted in some way, it is believed that EN2 could impact significantly on normal brain development. However, autism may be causes by the interaction and malfunction of more than one gene. The research is on-going.
Additionally, in a study conducted in 2007, three common factors were found to be of interest in some cases of autism: older maternal age, older paternal age, and birthplace of the mother outside
Alternatively, some rare cases of autism appear to be related to environmental factors. In the past several years, there has been a great deal of controversy over the incidence of autism with relation to childhood immunizations. To-date, there is no strong statistical correlation to support this proposal.
The prenatal environment has come into focus as a possible origin, especially events taking place within the first eight weeks of gestation of the fetus. Although most infectious diseases appear not to be significant contributors to the causes of autism, the rubella virus may be a suspect. Exposure to pesticides may have some effect, but the research is inconclusive.
Maternal folic acid levels may have some bearing, as folic acid is directly involved in neural tube development in the fetus and has a direct effect on gene expression. Perhaps the most promising research finding recently has been the association of maternal infection early in pregnancy with the child’s later autism.
The cause of autism is most likely over determined, meaning that more than one factor is involved. Given the range of symptoms of autism and severity of autism, this could well be so.
There are many more resources and information about autism signs, symptoms, treatments, and cutting edge medical research in, Autism: Everything Parents And Caregivers Should Know About The Disorder- http://autismsymptoms1.com/go.php?offer=simon8775&pid=1
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