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, here’s what science speculates, so far, as possible causes. This list is in no specific order.
10 Possible Causes for Autism
- Birth Complications
- Genetic Autism
- Fragile X
- Untreated Phenylketonuria
- Drugs During Pregnancy
- Tuberous Sclerosis
- Parental Age
- Pregnancies Less Than a Year Apart
Prenatal situations like poor nutrition andchemicals that the mother was subject to can also complications.
Low birth weight can cause autism issues. If the child suffered from severe heart stress and/or lack of oxygen to the brain before or during delivery could also be harmful.
It should be noted that Rubella is pretty much nonexistent in the world today. However, a maternal infection within the immune system of a mother is speculation for autism. The assumption of this is because children with CRS orcongenital rubella syndrome share the same traits as autistic children. This is the basis of the theory that today’s autism is just another form of Rubella.
The study is pretty interesting. You can read the whole article at NCBI for yourself.
Many of the genes associated with ASD are involved in the development of the brain. There have been studies released that show that some people have a genetic predisposition to autism. Findings also suggest that many emotional issues such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder occur more often in the families of people with autism.
Which brings us to the notion that autism can be highly genetic, and inherited. People that have the gene changes associated with ASD can pass that genetic code have an increased risk of transferring that gene onto their children. The code can be passed on according to the inheritance pattern of that syndrome.
The mutation can start as early as the fertilized egg divides. Some studies have shown that people with autism tend to have more copied genetic mutations. This suggests that for some the risk of developing autism isn’t the result of mutations in sole individual genes but rather spontaneous coding mutations across many genes.
Fragile X accounts for approximately 2 to 4 percent of ASD diagnosis. Unlike Autism, Fragile X can be determined by a blood test. There is no known blood test available to diagnose autism spectrum disorder.
Sufferers of Fragile X share very similar traits to those on the autistic spectrum in that it is an intellectual disability. Although you cannot tell by any physical features if a child has autism, there are some traits that can be recognized in Fragile X.
Here are some potential factors to look for in Fragile X:
- Flexible Joints
- Prominent jaw and chin
- Narrow Face
- Enlarged testicles during puberty
- Ears that stick out
- Sinus and Ear Infections
- “Lazy Eye”
- Dental Problems
- Heart murmurs
- Larger than peers before puberty
- Possible seizures
- Many autistic traits, lack of eye contact, impulsive, hand flapping, etc.
UC Davis has interesting theories on Fragile X and tends to believe that Fragile X is a common cause of autism. Their article is worth the read.
According to a study on Neurores.org, Phenylketonuria (PKU) is the most common metabolic cause of mental retardation.
Phenylalanine is an amino acid found in every kind of protein and some artificial sweeteners. Phenylketonuria is a disorder where this amino acid builds up in the body. The body can’t break down phenylalanine. Over time, the amino acid just builds and builds in the bloodstream until a neurotoxic effect takes over, and eventually causes structural brain damage.
They have found an above-chance frequency of occurrence of autism and PKU in several studies. PKU is very damaging, and why it is tested for often in newborn metabolic screening tests.
The complications for women who have PKU can pass maternal PKU to their children. Some of the symptoms of PKU are:
- Neurological problems
- Skin Rashes
- Fair skin and blue eyes
- Intellectual disability
- Delayed development
- ADD, ADHD
- Heart defects and other heart problems
- A musty odor in the breath, skin or urine
An interesting study was done in Egypt on 32 children with PKU. 25% had autism. The study can be found here.
Drugs During Pregnancy
Another possible cause for autism is drugs during pregnancy.
Antidepressants, primarilyselective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and autism have a possible link. This study shows evidence that women who filled a prescription for antidepressants during their 2nd and 3rd trimester had anoverwhelming 87% higher chance of birthing a child with autism than women who did not take anything.
However, a completely opposite finding from JAMA stated that there was not a significant statistical association for autism when pregnant mothers took serotonergic antidepressants prenatally. “Maternal use of serotonergic antidepressants during pregnancy compared with no use was not associated with autism spectrum disorder in their children.”
Here’s another one on mothers taking neurotransmitter affecting drugs. Again, not much statistical evidence proving autism in the offspring.
A word of caution. If you’re unsure about what you’re taking prenatally and if it can affect your baby through your umbilical cord, watch the presentation below on the Ten Americans. It’s only about 20 minutes long.
This is very interesting and blew us away when first learned this information. Between 25% and 50% of all children with tuberous sclerosis develop some sort of autism spectrum disorder. Scientists are still amiss why some children with TSC don’t develop autism.
ASD was first thought to be a temporal lobe issue in the brain. The temporal lobe is associated with understanding the information given through facial expressions and speech sounds. However, it’s now known that ASD is associated with how the brain abnormally connects to other parts of the brain, not just the temporal lobes.
If you have a child or young adult that has tuberous sclerosis complex it might be in your best interest to read more on this topic and also consult your doctor.
The TSC Alliance can give you more information.
This one has been proven over and over, also from many different studies. The older you are, the more likely you are to have autistic offspring. Here’s the bad news for the Dads out there, you’re more likely to blame than the mother. The interesting part is that nobody knows why.
A study published byAvi Reichenberg of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 2006 included statistical evidence stating that men in their 40s have a 6 times greater risk of causing autism in children than men in their 30’s. An interesting side note, they can’t pinpoint the exact age when the percentages increase.
That’s not the only study proving this, there are many other studies that had very similar results. However, know that these studies probably only account for a 1 to 5 percent prevalence of autism out of the total population of people on the autism spectrum.
Has your autistic child ever complained about headaches? Ours does from time to time. A study found that most all children on the spectrum, or around 69%, have some sort of issue with brain inflammation. Brain inflammation can not only cause autism, it can cause a multitude of problems.
Were you ever told that your child with autism has a good chance of having some form of encephalitis? Me neither, and it would have been very welcomed information.
This is an important topic. The entire post can be found here.
Pregnancies Less Than a Year Apart
From the Study to Explore Early Development (SEED) spacing out a second pregnancy in under 18 months can cause ASD. Doctors have always recommended keeping pregnancies spaced further apart.
This study can be found here. It’s interesting reading, but it doesn’t give any reasons why this is occurring, it’s basically statistics.
What are the 3 main causes of autism? ›
There are many different factors that have been identified that may make a child more likely to have ASD, including environmental, biologic, and genetic factors.What are the possible causes of autism? ›
- Genetics. Several different genes appear to be involved in autism spectrum disorder. ...
- Environmental factors. Researchers are currently exploring whether factors such as viral infections, medications or complications during pregnancy, or air pollutants play a role in triggering autism spectrum disorder.
Genetics. Genetic factors may be the most significant cause of autism. Early studies of twins had estimated heritability to be over 90%, meaning that genetics explains over 90% of whether a child will develop autism.Which parent carries autism gene? ›
Since autism is less prevalent in females, autism was always thought to be passed down from the mother. However, research suggests that autism genes are usually inherited from the father. One of the most common questions asked by parents of children with autism is which parent carries the autism gene.Can stress during pregnancy cause autism? ›
High levels of stress during pregnancy may also be connected to autism in children. This connection appears to have the most impact when the parent experiences stress between weeks 25 and 28 of pregnancy.What are 4 factors of autism? ›
Advanced parental age at time of conception. Prenatal exposure to air pollution or certain pesticides. Maternal obesity, diabetes, or immune system disorders. Extreme prematurity or very low birth weight.Can trauma cause autism? ›
While autism is never caused by trauma, there may be something about living with autism that is inherently traumatic.What can I do to prevent autism? ›
- Live healthy. Have regular check-ups, eat well-balanced meals, and exercise. ...
- Don't take drugs during pregnancy. Ask your doctor before you take any medication. ...
- Avoid alcohol. ...
- Seek treatment for existing health conditions. ...
- Get vaccinated.
|1||United Kingdom||700.07 per 100k|
|2||Sweden||661.85 per 100k|
|3||Japan||604.72 per 100k|
|4||United States of America||603.38 per 100k|
The concept of autism was coined in 1911 by the German psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler to describe a symptom of the most severe cases of schizophrenia, a concept he had also created.
What makes autism worse? ›
Many individuals with autism have co-occurring conditions, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, or OCD. These conditions can exacerbate the symptoms of autism and make it worse. To manage co-occurring conditions, individuals with autism may need to receive treatment and therapy for each condition.Is autism caused by neglect? ›
Autism is likely to have multiple genes responsible rather than a single gene. However, it is not caused by emotional deprivation or the way a person has been brought up.Why is autism so common now? ›
Advances in diagnostic capabilities and greater understanding and awareness of autism spectrum disorder seem to be largely driving the increase, the Rutgers researchers said. But there's probably more to the story: Genetic factors, and perhaps some environmental ones, too, might also be contributing to the trend.Can you test for autism in the womb? ›
In the United States, prenatal genetic testing (PGT) for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is currently available via clinical genetic services. Such testing may inform parents about their unborn child's risk for ASD, prepare parents for the birth of an affected infant, and allow them to arrange for early interventions.How likely is autism passed down? ›
Study Finds 80% Risk From Inherited Genes. A new study looking at autism in 5 countries found that 80 percent of autism risk can be traced to inherited genes rather than environmental factors and random mutations.Can COVID during pregnancy cause autism? ›
A study of over 7,700 children born during the pandemic has found that those infants whose mothers tested positive for COVID-19 during pregnancy had increased risk of a neurodevelopmental disorder diagnosis during their first 12 months of life.Can gut health cause autism? ›
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder that affects normal brain development. The recent finding of the microbiota–gut–brain axis indicates the bidirectional connection between our gut and brain, demonstrating that gut microbiota can influence many neurological disorders such as autism.Who is more prone to autism? ›
Boys have a risk of developing ASD that is five times greater than girls, with one in every 48 boys and one in every 252 girls diagnosed. The reason for this disparity is not currently understood. In fact, scientists are still searching for the answers as to why autism occurs in the first place.What increases autism in pregnancy? ›
Epidemiological studies have shown that hormone abnormalities in pregnant women are a significant potential risk factor for autism in offspring and that sex hormones may be part of the cause of autism.Are narcissism and autism related? ›
While autism and narcissism have some overlapping symptoms, such as difficulty with social interaction, it is important to note that they are two distinct conditions. However, there have been cases where individuals with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) have been misdiagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
What happens in the brain of an autistic child? ›
In the autistic brain, the brain reduced connectivity, known as hypoconnectivity, allows weakly connected regions to drift apart, with sulci forming between them.” Research has shown the deeper theses sulcal pits are, the more language production is affected.Can brain damage cause autism? ›
Can a brain injury cause autism? While many symptoms of TBI and autism overlap, there is currently no evidence to suggest that a brain injury causes an increased risk of autism.What helps autistic behavior? ›
The most common developmental therapy for people with ASD is Speech and Language Therapy. Speech and Language Therapy helps to improve the person's understanding and use of speech and language. Some people with ASD communicate verbally.
- Woody Allen.
- Dan Aykroyd.
- Marty Balin.
- Susan Boyle.
- Tim Burton.
- Tony DeBlois.
- Jerry Seinfeld.
- Bill Gates.
Globally, the World Health Organization estimates that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one per 160 children. The prevalence in the Middle East is still unknown, largely due to a lack of diagnoses or a lack of acceptance from parents.What states have the most autism? ›
According to the ADDM Network, California is the state that has the highest prevalence of autism diagnoses, with it being 30+ out of every 1,000 identified children in 2018.Where is the best place in the world to live with autism? ›
Clonakilty in County Cork, Ireland, and Austin in Minnesota, United States are two communities that have chosen to embrace neurodiversity, and more specifically, autism.Is autism Passed On from the mother or father? ›
Due to its lower prevalence in females, autism was always thought to have a maternal inheritance component. However, research also suggests that the rarer variants associated with autism are mostly inherited from the father. Ultimately, autism is a complex condition with 100s of genes involved.Who was the first person with autism? ›
Donald Triplett, in full Donald Gray Triplett, (born September 1933, Forest, Mississippi, U.S.), American male who was the first person diagnosed with autism. Triplett was the eldest son of an affluent family; his mother's family had founded the local bank in Forest, Mississippi, and his father was an attorney.Are you born with autism? ›
It's something you're born with. Signs of autism might be noticed when you're very young, or not until you're older. If you're autistic, you're autistic your whole life. Autism is not a medical condition with treatments or a "cure".
Which fruit is good for autism? ›
fruits such as apples, avocados, blueberries, kiwi fruit, grapes, plums, strawberries, vegetables such as cauliflower, cucumber, mushrooms, radish, eggplant, spinach, tomato, broccoli. nuts such as peanuts, pistachios, almonds.What is the best food for autism? ›
The best food for children with autism are fatty fish, eggs, grass-fed beef, sustainably raised animal proteins, shellfish, beans, nuts, and seeds. Research has found that fatty fish such as salmon and free-range eggs share the healthy omega 3 acid. Foods that contain omega 3s help fight inflammation in the body.What is the hardest part of being autistic? ›
Due to the behavioural, information processing and sensory aspects of their diagnosis, many people on the autism spectrum often prefer familiar environments with a predictable routine. Restricted and repetitive interests, sensory processing differences and heightened anxiety can make even small changes stressful.What parenting style is best for autism? ›
A variety of research has shown that the most effective form of parenting when dealing with ASD is Authoritative parenting, and the study shows that mothers tend use more of permissive form of parenting which may have an adverse effect on the behavioural problems of children with ASD.Can lack of oxygen cause autism? ›
There is some evidence to suggest that brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation at birth may increase an infant's risk of developing disorders such as autism. A recent study in the US estimated that complications at birth may increase the risk of ASD in children by as much as 10%.Are first borns more likely to be autistic? ›
“Firstborn offspring of two older parents,” Durkin's study noted, “were three times more likely to develop autism than were third- or later-born offspring of mothers aged twenty to thirty-four and fathers aged under forty years.”Does autism run in families? ›
If someone in your family has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), you may be more likely to have a child with ASD. ASD can look very different from person to person, so taking a careful family health history can be important for early diagnosis.Is ADHD a part of autism? ›
ADHD is not on the autism spectrum, but they have some of the same symptoms. And having one of these conditions increases the chances of having the other. Experts have changed the way they think about how autism and ADHD are related.Can autism show on MRI? ›
Neuroradiology researchers are increasingly using MRI to assess autism. In recent research conducted at the University of Utah, researchers examining brain connectivity in autism patients concluded that MRI may be a viable diagnostic tool for children with autism.Can doctors tell if a baby will have autism? ›
A routine prenatal ultrasound can identify early signs of autism, study finds. Summary: A routine prenatal ultrasound in the second trimester can identify early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a new study has found.
When is autism detected in pregnancy? ›
Autism can be seen by doctors at a very early stage of pregnancy, even during the second trimester. To detect typically requires brain scans and additional checkups. Nothing conclusive can be made until a woman has delivered the baby and the child is examined further by psychologists.Why is autism more common in boys? ›
Autism is significantly more common in boys than in girls. This skewed sex ratio has been recognized since the first cases of autism were described in the 1940s. The exact reasons for the ratio remain unclear. It could be rooted in biological differences between the sexes.Can two autistic parents have a normal child? ›
Yes, autistic people can have kids.
Although there is a chance of passing on certain genetic conditions associated with autism, many couples in which one or both partners are on the autism spectrum choose to have children and research suggests that this is generally a positive experience.
ASD Level 2 – In the mid-range of ASD is Level 2. In this level, individuals require substantial support and have problems that are more readily obvious to others. These issues may be trouble with verbal communication, having very restricted interests, and exhibiting frequent, repetitive behaviors.Is autism Passed On from the mother or Father? ›
Due to its lower prevalence in females, autism was always thought to have a maternal inheritance component. However, research also suggests that the rarer variants associated with autism are mostly inherited from the father. Ultimately, autism is a complex condition with 100s of genes involved.Which side does autism come from? ›
It may come either from the Y chromosome or the X chromosome. However, research states that, in most cases, it comes from the male chromosome (Y). According to research, changes in genetic variants that control gene functioning also play a crucial role in developing autism.Can autism be detected during pregnancy? ›
A routine prenatal ultrasound can identify early signs of autism, study finds. Summary: A routine prenatal ultrasound in the second trimester can identify early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a new study has found.What are the odds of having an autistic child? ›
The chances of anyone in the general population having an autistic child are about 1 in 1000 or 0.1%. So, while the risk is real, the chances of you and your husband having an autistic child are still very low.What should you avoid if your child has autism? ›
- Artificial ingredients.
The behavioral symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often appear early in development. Many children show symptoms of autism by 12 months to 18 months of age or earlier.
What country has the most autism? ›
|1||United Kingdom||700.07 per 100k|
|2||Sweden||661.85 per 100k|
|3||Japan||604.72 per 100k|
|4||United States of America||603.38 per 100k|
- High-sugar foods.
- Milk and other dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, iceceream.
- Wheat products.
- Processed meats.
- Processed snacks such as chips, crackers, cookies, etc.