Tag Archives: Causes Of Autism

Question?: Autistic

Donna asks…

What is glutathione pleolyposome? Is it safe to use for a four year old autistic child?

I have a four year old autistic boy. I have read about glutathione pleolyposome in couple of web sites and they claim to be very useful for someone with autism. Is there anyone who have used it and it helped the autistic condition? I would like to learn more about it. Thank you.

admin answers:

Glutathione is a tripeptide produced by the liver. Glutathione pleolyposome is man-made. This is hype to get you to purchase it. Don’t buy into it because you’re looking for a quick fix. I also have an autistic son but I don’t look to a charlatan’s snake oil for a cure. None of these websites is medically based and the so-called evidence they give for the causes of autism are specious at best and laughable even for someone without an advanced degree in biochemistry.

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Question?: Rett Syndrome Research

Thomas asks…

With a NEGATIVE Fragile X blood test, could you still have autism?

I checked the test it does say FMR1- I see we did get eh right test by the Dan Marino Center in Weston, FL, Dr. Tuchman, good dr. He was the one that said my son did not have Autism, but did have speech delay and social dysfuntion. he had an MRI done too, everything normal. Prev neuro said aspergers, everyone after her said no way. who knows!

admin answers:

The very simplest answer is of course yes, Fragile X is only one of the known genetic causes of autism, there are other causes as well, some with a known genetic bases, some due to reasons the researchers still haven’t identified. If your child is female, it will be very important that they rule out Rett Syndrome.

First I must caution you on the results of the test, you need to ensure that they ran the FMR1 DNA test.

A chromosome analysis or microarray analysis CANNOT be used to test for Fragile X, they produce far too many FALSE negatives. The FMR1 DNA test is 99% accurate. Look at your test results, did they provide you with CGG repeat numbers, if they didn’t that’s a strong indication that they may not have ran the FMR1 DNA test.

You CANNOT diagnose Fragile X by physical traits, the physical traits are not always present. Some may never display them and many individuals who DO NOT have fragile X may have long faces and large ears. With some individuals they may grow into the physical traits during puberty.

Chromosome analysis and microarray analysis are far more expensive than a FMR1 DNA test, the fragile X test may run as little as $200 to as much as $600, and if anyone is interested I know of a research study that will do the screening for mothers to determine if they are a carrier for FREE. Just connect with me through the e-mail option.

Additional details: Emma glad they ran the FMR1 test, sounds like you’re frustrated – which is very understandable since you’re looking for answers and coming up empty. I hope you don’t give up, some may feel a reason isn’t important but if there is a reason you should find out just to be aware of other medical conditions that may accompany the reason. Do you know what other tests the doctor ran? At this time if he/she didn’t complete a chromosome analysis or microarray analysis you may wish to have them done. You might also want to visit a genetic counselor just to rule out other conditions that may present with autism characteristics. Good luck and hugs.

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Autism Law, Financial Burdens Leave Families Struggling With Health Care Needs

Main Category: Autism
Also Included In: Health Insurance / Medical Insurance
Article Date: 17 Jul 2012 – 2:00 PDT Current ratings for:
Autism Law, Financial Burdens Leave Families Struggling With Health Care Needs
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While the causes of autism continue to be debated and bandied about, real families who have children with autism spectrum disorders are left to struggle with expensive health care needs. These costs can be devastating – but they can also be markedly different if the family lives in Massachusetts or Maine.

Advocates in many states have lobbied for legislation to force private insurers to offer autism services at the same levels as other covered services. A new study by Susan Parish, the Nancy Lurie Marks Professor of Disability Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, looks at the effectiveness of these so-called parity laws in reducing families’ financial burdens. It was published in the journal Intellectual and Development Disabilities.

According to the National Conference of State Legislators, parity, as it relates to mental health and substance abuse, prohibits insurers or health care service plans from discriminating between coverage offered for mental illness, serious mental illness, substance abuse, and other physical disorders and diseases. In short, parity requires insurers to provide the same level of benefits for mental illness, serious mental illness or substance abuse as for other physical disorders and diseases. These benefits include visit limits, deductibles, copayments, and lifetime and annual limits.

“We found that families who live in states that have passed parity legislation spent considerably less for their children with autism than families living in states without such legislation,” Parish says.

The study examined data from the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs, which includes a group of more than 2,000 children with autism living across the United States.

Data revealed that more than one-third of the families reported spending more than three percent of their gross annual incomes on services for their children with autism.

“Families raising children with autism incur exceptionally high out-of-pocket costs. These costs pay for things that insurance doesn’t fully cover, like therapies and behavior management interventions,” says Parish. “These services are often critically important to the well-being and development of children with autism.”

Where families live really matters, Parish concluded. Families living in states that had enacted so-called parity legislation had much lower financial burden than families who lived in states without such legislative protections.

Data found that 60 percent of families in Massachusetts, Missouri, and Utah had out-of-pocket in excess of $500 annually. By comparison, 27 percent of Maine families spent above $500 annually. At the time the survey was collected, in 2005, Massachusetts, Missouri and Utah did not have parity legislation, but Maine did. ?Furthermore, these findings were robust. Even after controlling for a host of characteristics including severity of the child’s impairment, family income, and state wealth, families’ financial burden was much less if they lived in states that had passed parity legislation.

According to the advocacy group Autism Speaks, 30 states currently have enacted some form of legislation.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our autism section for the latest news on this subject. Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

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Boys More Affected By Mutations In Autism Susceptibility Gene

Main Category: Autism
Also Included In: Genetics;  Men’s Health
Article Date: 15 Jul 2012 – 0:00 PDT Current ratings for:
Boys More Affected By Mutations In Autism Susceptibility Gene
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Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have identified five rare mutations in a single gene that appear to increase the chances that a boy will develop an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Mutations in the AFF2 gene, and other genes like it on the X chromosome, may explain why autism spectrum disorders affect four times as many boys as girls.

The mutations in AFF2 appeared in 2.5 percent (5 out of 202) boys with an ASD. Mutations in X chromosome genes only affect boys, who have one X chromosome. Girls have a second copy of the gene that can compensate.

The results were published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics.

“Our data suggest that AFF2 could be one of the major X-linked risk factors for ASD’s,” says senior author Michael Zwick, PhD, assistant professor of human genetics at Emory University School of Medicine.

The finding bolsters a growing consensus among geneticists that rare variants in many different genes contribute significantly to risk for autism spectrum disorders.

The mutations in the AFF2 gene probably do not cause ASDs all by themselves, Zwick says.

“We do not think that the variants we have identified are monogenic causes of autism,” he says. “Our data does support the idea that this is an autism susceptibility gene.”

In some situations, mutations in a single gene are enough by themselves to lead to a neurodevelopmental disorder with autistic features, such as fragile X syndrome or tuberous sclerosis complex. But these types of mutations are thought to account for a small number of ASD cases.

Recent large-scale genetic studies of autism spectrum disorders have identified several “rare variants” that sharply increase ASD risk. Scientists believe rare variants could explain up to 15 or 20 percent of ASD cases. However, until now no single variant has been found in more than one percent of ASD cases.

Working with Zwick, postdoctoral fellow Kajari Mondal and her colleagues read the sequence of the AFF2 gene in DNA from 202 boys diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. The patient samples came from the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and the Simons Simplex Collection.

Tests showed that in four cases, the affected boys had inherited the risk-conferring mutations from their mothers. One boy had a “de novo” (not coming from the parents) mutation. Compared with X-linked genes in unaffected people, mutations in AFF2 were five times more abundant in the boys with ASDs.

The AFF2 gene had already been identified as responsible for a rare inherited form of intellectual disability with autistic features. This effect is seen when the AFF2 gene is deleted or silenced completely.

AFF2 has some similarity to FMR1, the gene responsible for fragile X syndrome. Like FMR1, it can be silenced by a triplet repeat. In these cases, the presence of the triplet repeat (three genetic bases repeated dozens of times) triggers a change in chromosomal structure that prevents the gene from being turned on.

In contrast, the mutations Zwick’s team found are more subtle, slightly changing the sequence of the protein AFF2 encodes. Little is known about the precise function of the AFF2 protein. A related gene in fruit flies called lilliputian also appears to regulate the development of neurons.

Zwick says one of his laboratory’s projects is to learn more about the function of the AFF2 gene, and to probe how the mutations identified by his team affect the function. His team is also working on gauging the extent to which other genes on the X chromosome contribute to autism risk.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our autism section for the latest news on this subject. The research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (MH076439) and the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative.
Reference: K. Mondal, D. Ramachandran, V.C. Patel, K.R. Hagen, P. Bose, D.J. Cutler and M.E. Zwick. Excess variants in AFF2 detected by massively parallel sequencing of males with autism spectrum disorder. Hum. Mol. Genet. Advance access. (2012). doi: 10.1093/hmg/dds267
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N-acetylcysteine For Treating Irritability In Autism

Main Category: Autism
Also Included In: Psychology / Psychiatry
Article Date: 04 Jun 2012 – 0:00 PDT Current ratings for:
‘N-acetylcysteine For Treating Irritability In Autism’
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Autism is a developmental disorder that affects social and communication skills. Irritability is a symptom of autism that can complicate adjustment at home and other settings, and can manifest itself in aggression, tantrums, and self-injurious behavior. These disruptive behaviors are frequently observed in children with autism, which may considerably affect their ability to function at home or in school.

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdoses, but it may have other applications related to its effects in the brain. NAC helps maintain and restore glutathione, which play a key role in the antioxidant defense system. Additionally, cysteine as supplied by NAC treatment, stimulates a protein, the cystine-glutamate antiporter, resulting in the decrease of glutamatergic neurotransmission. NAC has two resulting effects: 1) it may protect brain cells by raising the level of a protective antioxidant metabolite called glutathione, and 2) it may reduce the excitability of the glutamate system by stimulating inhibitory receptors.

These drug actions are important because, although the causes of autism are unknown, it is clear that there are many influencing factors and scientists are pursuing multiple hypotheses. Two in particular relate to NAC: one theory is that autism may be caused by an imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants in the body; the other is that the glutamate system may be dysfunctional in individuals with autism.

These hypotheses led researchers at Stanford University and the Cleveland Clinic to conduct a pilot trial of NAC in children with autistic disorder. Children were randomized to receive either NAC or placebo daily for 12 weeks and their symptoms were evaluated four times during that period.

They found that irritability was significantly decreased in the children who received NAC. In addition, NAC was well-tolerated and caused minimal side effects.

Lead author Dr. Antonio Hardan commented, “Data from this preliminary trial suggest that NAC has the potential to be helpful in targeting irritability in children with autism. It is also unclear if NAC improves other symptom domains in autism.”

“At this point it is too early to tell how NAC reduced irritability in autism, but this finding will be an important addition to the field if it can be replicated,” said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry, where the study is being published.

Dr. Hardan agreed, adding that “large randomized controlled trials are needed to attempt to replicate the findings from this pilot trial and to determine whether or not NAC is effective in targeting other symptoms observed in autism such as repetitive and restricted interests.” This small pilot study was the first step and so the next stages of work can now begin to determine whether NAC could potentially become an approved treatment for autism.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our autism section for the latest news on this subject. The article is “A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial of Oral N-Acetylcysteine in Children with Autism” by Antonio Y. Hardan, Lawrence K. Fung, Robin A. Libove, Tetyana V. Obukhanych, Surekha Nair, Leonore A. Herzenberg, Thomas W. Frazier, and Rabindra Tirouvanziam (doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.01.014). The article appears in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 71, Issue 11 (June 1, 2012), published by Elsevier.
The authors’ affiliations, and disclosures of financial and conflicts of interests are available in the article.
John H. Krystal, M.D., is Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine and a research psychiatrist at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. His disclosures of financial and conflicts of interests are available here.
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posted by jmburke on 4 Jun 2012 at 9:51 am

just wondering? I have a daughter with aspergers, she also has Celiac and is on a restricted gluten-free diet. which many autistic children are on just because it does seem to help and in some cases extremely well. Does that have anything to do with the glutamate system they are discussing above???

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‘N-acetylcysteine For Treating Irritability In Autism’

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Symptoms of High-Functioning Autism

My first recollection of autism is connected to watching the ‘Rainman’ movie and thinking about what happened to that brilliant child on the screen. On one hand, so talented on the other so restricted. My next close encounter with the disorder took place when my daughter became a teacher for disabled kids ages seven through ten. I still remember that night when she came back home from school, I looked at her face and knew something tragic must have happen. She shared with me her experience with one of her students diagnosed with autism. Now she brings home the knowledge and awareness that I would not have otherwise. As with all critical occurrences, there is no one single description of the disorder or the cure of it.

Autism is in fact the core condition of a spectrum of disorders, which all share common characteristics and are demonstrated in very diverse ways within each individual.

Autism is a major disability, affecting communication and interaction with other people, but also with the world.

The degree of autism varies from severe to mild, but the consequence is always serious. Accordingly, someone with autism may have severe autism with severe additional learning difficulties, while others may have mild degrees of autism with normal or high levels of intelligence. The majority of those affected by autism have learning disabilities. Their language development varies greatly. Some may have very good speech, although lacking full comprehension, while a significant portion of those with autism will have no spoken language. Many may be hypersensitive to noise, light, touch or smell, and under-react to pain.

The particular causes of autism are not known; we do know however that it is a biologically based disorder affecting the brain development. The patterns of disorderly behavior do not emerge until the child is between 18 months and 3 years old. At times there is a period of seemingly normal development and then, between 18 months and 3 years, the child gives the impression to withdraw and lose skills. We do know that parents are not to blame for autism, but, actually, are the child’s greatest resource.

As for the common signs of autism – those are social, communication and behavior. Autism is displayed in social settings, verbal communication, nonverbal communication, development of imagination and resistance to change of a routine.

Here are examples of such behaviors. Affected kid shows indifference; he or she joins activities with others only if adult insists and assists. The interactions in social settings are one sided. He or she indicates need by using an adult’s hand, does not play with other children, talks consistently only about one topic, displays bizarre behavior. Very common is echolalia, when the child copies words. Laughing or giggling comes up in the most inappropriate times. There is no eye contact, variety is not spice of life, and there is lack of creative (pretend) play.

Some of the affected kids can do some things very well and very quickly, but those never involve social interaction. Early diagnosis of such condition is crucial in order to minimize the problems and maximize the full potential of the person.

I cannot tell if the explosion of autism since 1980 has been triggered by our ability to diagnose or by the actual changes in the fetus and baby development caused by the overdose of chemicals. I know though, that we managed to register 77,000 artificial food additives since 1940 and that an average American consumes 14 pounds of chemicals with their food per year. The results of these statistics cannot be ignored by our bodies. Simple reality check: if you would not put something into your fish tank, don’t stick it in your body.

Maybe it will not happen to eliminate autism, but it will definitely help our health and the world.

In the mean time I would like to invite you to gain more information about the early detection of the disorder and ways to gain control of the situation.

Be am amazed with the value of experience that comes from a simple heart to heart conversation. Yes, when the words are missing, hearts talk. Breathe in the magnificence of life and breathe out the passion for love so others can be poisoned with it. http://lifelonghomebiz.com/

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Defective Carnitine Metabolism May Play Role In Autism

Main Category: Autism
Also Included In: Genetics
Article Date: 08 May 2012 – 2:00 PDT Current ratings for:
‘Defective Carnitine Metabolism May Play Role In Autism’
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The deletion of part of a gene that plays a role in the synthesis of carnitine – an amino acid derivative that helps the body use fat for energy – may play a role in milder forms of autism, said a group of researchers led by those at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital.

“This is a novel inborn error of metabolism,” said Dr. Arthur Beaudet, chair of molecular and human genetics at BCM and a physician at Texas Children’s Hospital, and the senior author of the report that appears online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.* “How it is associated with the causes of autism is as yet unclear. However, it could point to a means of treatment or even prevention in some patients.”

Beaudet and his international group of collaborators believe the gene deletion leads to an imbalance in carnitine in the body. Meat eaters receive about 75 percent of their carnitine from their diet. However, dietary carnitine levels are low in vegetarians and particularly in vegans. In most people, levels of carnitine are balanced by the body’s ability to manufacture its own carnitine in the liver, kidney and brain, starting with a modified form of the amino acid lysine.

Carnitine deficiency has been identified when not enough is absorbed through the diet or because of medical treatments such as kidney dialysis. Genetic forms of carnitine deficiency also exist, which are caused when too much carnitine is excreted through the kidneys.

In this new inborn error, there is a deletion in the second exon – the protein-coding portion of a gene – of the TMLHE gene, which includes the genetic code for the first enzyme in the synthesis of carnitine (TMLHE stands for trimethyllysine epsilon which encodes the enzyme trimethyllysine dioxygenase).

Studies in the laboratory that identified the deletion were led by Dr. Patricia B.S. Celestino-Soper, as a graduate student in Beaudet’s laboratory at BCM and by Dr. Sara Violante, a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Frédéric M. Vaz of the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam.

To determine the frequency of the gene deletion, Beaudet and his colleagues tested male autism patients who were the only people with the disorder in their families (simplex families) from the Simons Simplex Collection, the South Carolina Early Autism Project and Houston families. In collaboration with laboratories and researchers in Nashville, Los Angeles, Paris, New York, Toronto and Cambridge (United Kingdom), they tested affected male siblings in families with more than one male case of autism (multiplex families).

When they looked at the TMLHE genes in males affected by autism and compared them to normal controls, they found that the gene alteration is a fairly common one, occurring in as many as one in 366 males unaffected by autism. It was not significantly more common in males within families in which there is only one person with autism. However, it is nearly three times more common in families with two or more boys with autism.

Beaudet said most of the affected males with the deletion did not have syndromic autism that is frequently associated with other serious diseases. In many instances, syndromic autism affects physical development as well as cognitive, which is reflected in their facial features as well as other parts of their bodies. None of the six boys affected with autism (where information was available) had the syndromic form of disease. Their intelligence quotients and cognitive scores varied, with some being far below normal and others normal.

“Most of the males we identified with the TMLHE deficiency were apparently normal as adults,” said Beaudet, although detailed information on learning and behavior was not available on these “control” males. “The gene deletion is neither necessary nor sufficient in itself to cause autism.”

“TMLHE deficiency itself is likely to be a weak risk factor for autism, but we need to do more studies to replicate our results,” Beaudet said. He estimated that at the rates found in his study, the deficiency might be a factor in about 170 males born with autism per year in the United States. This would equate to about one-half of one percent of autism cases.

The authors from Amsterdam found major increases in some carnitine-related chemicals and absence of others in both urine and plasma. These metabolic alterations were found to be predictive of the dysfunction of the TMLHE gene and therefore can be used to identify males with this disorder

It remains uncertain whether TMLHE deficiency is benign or causes autism by affecting the function of neurons through toxic accumulation or deficiency of a variety of chemical metabolites.

“We believe that the most attractive hypothesis at this time is that the increased risk of autism is modified by dietary intake of carnitine from birth through the first few years of life,” said Beaudet.

He and his colleagues are undertaking three studies to further their understanding of the TMLHE deficiency. In one, they will attempt to replicate the findings in multiplex families. In a second, they will study carnitine levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of infants with autism – both those who have the gene deficiency and those who do not. In a third study, they plan to begin giving boys under age 5 with autism carnitine or a related supplement and determine whether this improves the behavior of those with the TMLHE deficiency and those without.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our autism section for the latest news on this subject. * http://www.pnas.org
Others who took part in this work include Bekim Sadikovic, Kwanghyuk Lee, Charlene Lo, Richard E. Person, Timothy J. Moss, Jennifer R. German, Marwan Shinawi, Diane Treadwell-Deering, Chad A. Shaw, Suzanne M. Leal and Robin P. Goin-Kochel all of BCM and Texas Children’s Hospital; Emily L. Crawford and James S. Sutcliffe of Vanderbilt University; Rui Luo, Kun Gao and Daniel Geschwind of the David Geffen School of the Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles; Anath C. Lionel, Wendy Roberts, and Stephen W. Scherer of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto; Elsa Delaby and Catalina Betancur of the University of Paris; Guiqing Cai and Joseph D. Buxbaum of Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Ni Huang and Matthew E. Hurles of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute; Peter Szatmari of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario; Bridget Fernandez of the Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland; Richard J. Schroer and Roger E. Stevenson of Greenwood Genetic Center; Stephan J. Sanders of Yale University School of Medicine; Edwin H. Cook of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Ronald J.A. Wanders and Frédéric M. Vaz of the University of Amsterdam.
Funding for this work came from the the Simons Foundation, Autism Speaks, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia and the Wellcome Trust.
Beaudet is the Henry and Emma Meyer Chair in Molecular Genetics. He is also a professor of pediatrics and molecular and cellular biology as well as the Program in Cell and Molecular Biology.
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The Top 10 Toxic Chemicals Suspected Of Causing Autism And Learning Disabilities

Main Category: Autism
Also Included In: ADHD
Article Date: 27 Apr 2012 – 1:00 PDT

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An editorial published in the prestigious journal Environmental Health Perspectives calls for increased research to identify possible environmental causes of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders in America’s children and presents a list of ten target chemicals including which are considered highly likely to contribute to these conditions.

Philip Landrigan, MD, MSc, a world-renowned leader in children’s environmental health and Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC) at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, co-authored the editorial, entitled “A Research Strategy to Discover the Environmental Causes of Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities,” along with Luca Lambertini, PhD, MPH, MSc, Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai and Linda Birnbaum, Director of the National Institute OF Environmental Health Sciences.

The editorial was published alongside four other papers – each suggesting a link between toxic chemicals and autism. Both the editorial and the papers originated at a conference hosted by CEHC in December 2010.

The National Academy of Sciences reports that 3 percent of all neurobehavioral disorders in children, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), are caused by toxic exposures in the environment and that another 25 percent are caused by interactions between environmental factors and genetics. But the precise environmental causes are not yet known. While genetic research has demonstrated that ASD and certain other neurodevelopmental disorders have a strong hereditary component, many believe that environmental causes may also play a role – and Mount Sinai is leading an effort to understand the role of these toxins in a condition that now affects between 400,000 and 600,000 of the 4 million children born in the United States each year.

“A large number of the chemicals in widest use have not undergone even minimal assessment of potential toxicity and this is of great concern,” says Dr. Landrigan. “Knowledge of environmental causes of neurodevelopmental disorders is critically important because they are potentially preventable.”

CEHC developed the list of ten chemicals found in consumer products that are suspected to contribute to autism and learning disabilities to guide a research strategy to discover potentially preventable environmental causes. The top ten chemicals are: Lead Methylmercury PCBs Organophosphate pesticides Organochlorine pesticides Endocrine disruptors Automotive exhaust Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Brominated flame retardants Perfluorinated compounds In addition to the editorial, the other four papers also call for increased research to identify the possible environmental causes of autism in America’s children. The first paper, written by a team at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, found preliminary evidence linking smoking during pregnancy to Asperger’s disorder and other forms of high-functioning autism. Two papers, written by researchers at the University of California – Davis, show that PCBs disrupt early brain development. The final paper, also by a team at UC – Davis, suggests further exploring the link between pesticide exposure and autism. Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our autism section for the latest news on this subject. Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

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posted by Virginia Rutledge on 28 Apr 2012 at 11:13 am

I would like to know what products contain these chemicals…a more consumer friendly report…could you send one or refer me to one?
Great research. Keep up the good work…

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‘The Top 10 Toxic Chemicals Suspected Of Causing Autism And Learning Disabilities’

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Higher Maternal Age Predicts Risk Of Autism

Main Category: Autism
Also Included In: Women’s Health / Gynecology;  Pregnancy / Obstetrics
Article Date: 30 Apr 2012 – 0:00 PDT

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In a study published in the May 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, led by Mr. Sven Sandin, of the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden and King’s College London, researchers analyzed past studies to investigate possible associations between maternal age and autism. While much research has been done to identify potential genetic causes of autism, this analysis suggests that non-heritable and environmental factors may also play a role in children’s risk for autism.

The researchers compared the risk of autism in different groups of material age (under 20, 24-29, 30-34, and 35+). They found that children of mothers older than 35 years had 30% increased risk for autism. Children of mothers under 20 had the lowest risk of developing autism. The association between advancing maternal age and risk for autism was stronger for male offspring and children diagnosed in more recent years.

The analysis included 25,687 cases of autism spectrum disorder and over 8.6 million control subjects, drawn from the 16 epidemiological papers that fit inclusion criteria for the study as defined by the investigators. The researchers identified and discussed several potential underlying causes of the association between maternal age and risk for autism such as increased occurrence of gene alteration during the aging process and the effects of exposure to environmental toxins over time.

Sandin said of the study, “The study makes us confident there is an increased risk for autism associated with older maternal age, even though we do not know what the mechanism is. It has been observed in high quality studies from different countries, including the US. All studies controlled for paternal age which is an independent risk factor for autism. This finding adds to the understanding that older age of the parents could have consequences to the health of their children.”

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our autism section for the latest news on this subject. The article “Advancing Maternal Age Is Associated With Increasing Risk for Autism: A Review and Meta-Analysis” by Sven Sandin, Christina M. Hultman, Alexander Kolevzon, Raz Gross, James H. MacCabe, Abraham Reichenberg, (doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2012.02.018) appears in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Volume 51, Issue 5 (May 2012), published by Elsevier.
This study was supported by the Beatrice and Samuel A. Seaver Foundation and Autism Speaks.
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‘Higher Maternal Age Predicts Risk Of Autism’

Please note that we publish your name, but we do not publish your email address. It is only used to let you know when your message is published. We do not use it for any other purpose. Please see our privacy policy for more information.

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For any corrections of factual information, or to contact the editors please use our feedback form.

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Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.


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Autism Healthcare

The United States has a fragmented healthcare system made of many private health care facilities that are largely owned by the private sector. Primary care doctors are usually the first point of entry when there are any health concerns before referrals to any other appropriate health establishment if necessary. There are thousands of insurance companies that cover private health insurance and up until fairly recently it has been very hard to get health insurance to cover autism because it is risky and treatment is very expensive. This has recently changed due to new legislation but availability can depend on whether a particular State has enacted autism insurance legislation or coverage for government funded health programs such as Medicaid.

The causes of autism are not readily known or available. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that autism and related disorders are more common than previously thought. There is an increase in those being diagnosed and 3-4 times as many boys than girls are affected. On average one in 110 children born in the U.S. have autism. One in 70 boys and one in 315 girls are affected. It is thought by professionals that the increase is due to a wider definition of the spectrum.

It is essential to get an expert diagnosis in order to access the different services and treatments that may be available as it is beneficial to begin an early intervention program. An evaluation and assessment of the child may be done by a multidisciplinary team of professionals. Doctors who specializes in autism will observe the child, ask parents questions about the child’s development and behavior and do a variety of tests such as intelligence tests to evaluate the child’s strengths and weaknesses.

The following are some examples of the types of people and places listed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of whom to go to that will make a referral to, or provide diagnostic and treatment services (NIMH):

Family doctors
Mental health specialists such as psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors
Community mental health centers
Health maintenance organizations
Hospital psychiatry departments and outpatients clinics
State hospital outpatient clinics
Local medical and/or psychiatric societies

Once diagnosed, the quest to find affordable health insurance coverage to cover autism can begin. Around half of states currently have enacted autism insurance legislation which makes healthcare insurance coverage for more available, though it can be expensive. Recent laws have increased coverage for government funded health programs such as Medicaid for those on low incomes and disability is covered if it comes within the disability guidelines, so more families now qualify for assistance.

There are all kinds of treatments and interventions available and a treatment plan can be devised and tailored towards the individual child. Different teams of specialists can evaluate such things as speech, communication and motor skills. The main ways of treating the child can be through:

Behaviour Therapies and other types of therapies

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) can be used to shape and modify behavior. Occupational Therapy is available to work on fine and gross motor skills, for example, and there are other therapies such as Speech Therapy.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for school age children

Parents are encouraged to be involved with teachers in setting targets or goals to be reached within the particular school year and describes any special support required in meeting them.

Medication

Currently, there are no medications available to treat autism, but there are supplements that can treat and manage some of the symptoms. Ritalin, for example, can be used to treat impulsivity and overactivity and there are other drugs that can be used to treat behaviors such as aggressive behaviors or repetitive behaviors.

Though healthcare is fragmented in the United States, there is a wide range of therapies and interventions available for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Accessing these can depend on the child having an expert diagnosis on autism and on what health insurance coverage the child has.

References:

CDC. Cdc.gov: How Many Children Have Autism? Retrieved 29 March, 2011, from
cdc.gov/ncbddd/features/counting-autism.html

NIMH. Nimh,nih.gov: How To Find Help
nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/getting-help-locate-services/index.shtml

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