A Answers (10)
Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answeredAutism is an increasingly common neurological condition that has no clear cause. In this video, Dr. Oz and Alison Singer open the debate about what causes autism.
The cause of autism is unknown. Current theories of what may cause autism include birth complications, infections, genetic factors, and toxic exposures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has done significant studies that have successfully disproven the possibility of vaccines being the cause of autism.
UCLA Health answered
About one in 110 children are diagnosed with autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASD, every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Boys are four times as likely as girls to have autism. Researchers believe there may be many causes for the disease, including several genetic mutations.
Intermountain Healthcare answeredAutism was first identified in 1943, but we still don't know what causes it. Since people are either born with autism or the potential to develop it, scientists are studying both genetic and environmental factors.
- Genetic factors. Scans show differences in brain shape and structure in people with autism. Scientists think these changes are genetic.
- Environmental factors. If a person has a genetic tendency toward autism, certain environmental factors may "trigger" it. Factors being studied include viral infections, metabolic imbalances, and exposure to certain chemicals.
- Not vaccines. There are no proven links between vaccines and autism. Research studies have repeatedly shown identical autism rates for patients who have received vaccines (such as the polio vaccine or mumps, measles and rubella [MMR]) or vaccine preservatives (such as thimerosal) and patients who have not received them.
Although autism appears to be related to abnormalities in the brain, the exact cause of the disorder remains unknown. Several theories have been suggested as possible causes. Most researchers believe that several factors are involved in the development of autism.
A person's genetic makeup may play a role in his/her risk of developing autism. Researchers have identified several gene abnormalities that are associated with autism. According to researchers, families with one autistic child have a three to eight percent chance of having a second child with the disorder. Over the years, researchers have made significant advancements in understanding the genetics of autism. Chromosomal studies and genome scans have pointed out several regions on chromosomes 2q,7q,6,q,15q, along with sex chromosomes that could play a role in autism. Scientists are now focusing their research on five different chromosomes: 2, 3, 7, 15, and X. Although an individual's genetic makeup may influence the likelihood that they will develop the disorder, many other factors are also involved.
In some patients, autism has been linked to other medical conditions. For instance, autistic patients are more likely to have Fragile X syndrome (which causes mental retardation), tuberous sclerosis (which causes tumors to grow in the brain), epilepsy (which causes seizures), and Tourette's syndrome (which causes involuntary body movements).
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About 1 in 166 children are affected by autism, and it occurs in boys 3 to 4 more times often than girls. However, this complex developmental disorder affects people to varying degrees. The cause is unknown, but genetic and environmental factors play a role. It is the result of abnormal development of certain parts of the brain.
From Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children by Jennifer Trachtenberg.
Find out more about this book:Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children
There is very good data implicating genetics as the major cause of autism. The genetic changes identified to date show that there are many hundreds of genes that can contribute to autism. Mutations that increase risk for autism can be chromosomal abnormalities, small structural changes, or even single base changes. In some cases the genetic changes are de novo, which means the mutations occur in the egg or sperm.
Ronald Leaf, Psychology, answered
Watch as licensed psychologist and autism specialist Dr. Ronald Leaf discusses the causes of autism and whether or not they are known.
Riverside Health System answered
Scientists are not certain about what causes autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but it is likely that both genetics and environment play a role. Researchers have identified a number of genes associated with the disorder. Studies of people with ASD have found irregularities in several regions of the brain, including abnormal levels of serotonin or other neurotransmitters in the brain. These abnormalities suggest that ASD could result from the disruption of normal brain development early in fetal development. This could be caused by defects in genes that control brain growth and regulate how brain cells communicate with each other, possibly due to the influence of environmental factors on gene function. Although intriguing, these findings are preliminary and require further study. The theory that parental practices are responsible for ASD has long been disproved.
This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
The Dan Marino Foundation answeredNobody knows what causes autism. Some scientists believe there is a biological cause that affects the
working of the brain, but this has not been proven. It is possible there are many factors that could interact
with one another which could cause different characteristics in each individual with autism.
Parents do not cause autism. No factors in a child’s experiences or in parenting styles are responsible
Source: Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD)