Examining the causes of autism

24th Feb 2017

In the most recent newsletter from Dana Foundation, David Amaral talks about the causes of Autism.

Autism is a broad, complex, and increasingly important brain disorder. New data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that one in sixty-eight children is born with some degree of autism. Autism is also more common in males by a four to one ratio. Making it especially difficult to discuss in finite, conclusive terms is the fact that there is no biological test for autism; diagnosis is based on behaviour, and the only verified treatment is intensive behaviour therapy. The author, one of the nation’s foremost researchers on autism, examines the prenatal factors that contribute to the disorder.

In order to look at all possible causes of the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), David Amaral looked into twin studies, maternal infection, drugs, environmental issues and postnatal factors. He concluded that the research regarding causes of ASD are still very complex, although there is a certain strong genetic component. He suggests that the answer to his question 'what causes autism' will not solely reside in genetics or the environment, but a combination of the two. Overall, whatever factors go into the mix, they most likely happen during fetal life, as a person with autism is born with it.

To read the full article, please visit Dana website.

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