She Knows What Causes Autism

We live in a world where we’re trying to isolate a cause for autism. There are literally studies coming out every day with a new potential trigger. We’re seeing the results of some of the hysteria from this as measles – a possible deadly and once-eradicated disease – is now being spread since people are opting to not vaccinate their children in fear of autism. (Check out our last post for more on the need to vaccinate your children.)

So when we came across this beautifully written piece by Carrie Cariello entitled “I Know What Causes Autism,” it was a good reminder to take a step back for a moment. While it’s often complicated, she captures what is needed for a delicate emotional balance and does so in a remarkable way.

Read more from Carrie Cariello’s on her blog.

Lynsey, Community Manager 

100+ Genes Tied to Autism (New Study)

cover_natureSome new research that came out is getting a lot of attention. As we are still without a known cause of autism, this particular research could potentially prove to be a step closer to having a better understanding of what may cause autism.

Two studies were published in Nature that showed dozens of sets of genes are closely connected to the development of autism. As discussed in this article, the research claims that 60 genes are within a ‘high-confidence” threshold—meaning that mutations in those genes are 90% likely to increase the risk of autism. (Previously only 11 genes had been identified with the ‘high-confidence’ threshold.)

It went on to show that these genes appear to be clustering around three sets of biological functions—(1) the development of synapses (which are responsible for communication among nerves); (2) the creation of genetic instructions; and, (3) DNA packaging within cells.

With environmental factors being a possible theory of what may cause autism, this research may now steer scientists more toward genetics.

As with any new research and findings, more investigation is needed – but their initial discovery is very compelling.

Read more about this study here.

Lynsey, Community Manager

Environment Equally Important as Genes (Study)

It’s a question that many parents ask – ‘If I have a child with autism, what is the risk my next child will have autism too?’ This question is what prompted the largest analysis to date that looked at how autism runs in families.

jama1

And what researchers found out was that environmental factors are

more important than previously thought –

and, based on their findings, they are actually as big of factors as genes. Their research, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), suggests that heritability is 50% of the story, while the other half could be related to environmental elements such as birth complications, socio-economic status or parental lifestyle.

They found that a brother or sister with autism are 10 times more likely to develop the disorder and 3 times more likely if they have a half-brother or sister with autism. To read more about this study, check out this article.

Lynsey, Community Manager