Autism is a very complex neurodevelopmental disorder and due to this face there are many proposed theories on the causes of autism. Even though these theories can explain some cases, it’s hard come up with an exact case for this disorder. What makes autism a very special case is that there are more theories that come from a controversial angle, such as vaccinations, even though there isn’t any convincing scientific evidence to back this up.
Genetics is considered one of the most likely reasons autism occurs. It is estimated that 90% of autism is a result of genetics. As you know, genetics is a very complex science that is relatively new in our age of science. It isn’t believed that the particular genes that cause this disorder are inherited, but that they actually are a mutation.
Even though this is believed to be the best theory on the causes of autism, the actual explanation for why these mutations happen is unknown. Some scientists have theorized that it comes from environmental effects and others believe it is a chemical imbalance that causes some parts of the brain to overgrow.
This happens to be one of the prenatal environment theories. A study by the California Department of Public Health reviewed pregnant women that lived near fields that had pesticide being sprayed. The type of pesticide was organochlorine pesticides dicofol and endosulfan. The study concluded that these women were several times more likely to have an autistic child born.
There has been a lot of skepticism of this study, mainly for the reason that there just weren’t enough women involved in it. Some of the pesticides were later tested on lab rats and showed that prenatal exposure to these may contribute to an autistic child being born.
Stress is believed by some to be one of the leading causes of autism and with all the other research on the effects of stress; it seems highly probable that this could be the case. Studies both in humans and animals have shown that stress during pregnancy can actually lead to disruption in brain development.
This is one of the causes that fit into the more controversial category. There was a science related study on ultrasound waves can actually disrupt statistically small amount of neurons in neuronal migration. It is believed to be highly unlikely that this would be a cause of autism.
Toxicity From Mercury
Another suggested cause, that is gaining a lot of attention, is the amount of mercury we ingest into our bodies. The FDA actually released a report warning children and the elderly to limit the amount of intake on marine foods like tuna. There are other ways of getting too much mercury, such as living to close to a coal plant.
Studies have shown that the rates of autism actually were much higher for those people that live around mercury sources such as coal.
These are the main causes of autism and I think they deserve some attention to parents or soon to be parents. When we get right down to the facts, the medical community isn’t quite sure what causes this disorder. I think it is apparent for your health and the health of your child to consider all these characteristics.
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* Paul Andersen reviews the concepts discovered by Gregor Mendel.
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