Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Understanding Autism (Part 1 - The Genetic Side of Autism)

My curiosity of understanding how environmental factors can affect a child with AUTISM has brought me to a deeper UNDERSTANDING of AUTISM. Autism big puzzle is starting to take shape after many studies; howsoever, there is a lot  that needs to be done to actual complete this puzzle. Recent studies have been crucial in having a better understanding of Autism and maybe one day a cure and prevention for every child affected will be available. 

A Large-scale population study finds environment plays as big a role as genes in autism, below are fragments of the Newsletter of the Autism Research Institute:
"Study co-author Abraham Reichenberg comments, “We were surprised by our findings as we did not expect the importance of environmental factors in autism to be so strong....children with a brother or sister with autism were ten times more likely to develop autism than other children. They were three times more likely if they had a half-brother or half-sister with autism, and two times more likely if they had a cousin with the condition. These results did not vary according to gender." 
The genetic side of Autism
Does Autism run in families?  The answers is YES! Researchers has enough evidence to know the short answer. But genetic is complicated, so they exactly don't know why. A connections between autoimmune disorders and Autism has been found, which could explain it, but more studies needs to be done. Therefore, Autism seems to be an autoimmune disorder rather than just a neurological disorder, which involves metabolic issues as well. Therefore, Autism is starting be considered as a neuro-immune disorder. This makes more sense and it could explain why so many kids are affected and why this kids have other organs in the body affected by Autism rather than just the brain.

The autoimmune disorders that are being studied to find a relation with Autism are Celiac diseaseRheumatoid arthritis and Type I diabetes.  Scientist are looking into Parkinson as well as other link to Autism because  PARK2 or parkinson protein 2 has been found in kids with Autism. Recently, Parkinson has been proposed as autoimmune disorder as well. 

A new study has showed that Mothers with Celiac disease have a greater risk of having a child with autism than mothers with Rheumatoid arthritis or Type 1 diabetes. Urinary infections during pregnancy may also pull the trigger for the genetic side of Autism in a developing unborn babies. Developing brains are the ones attacked by Autism because they don't have the immunity well developed to fight back the antibodies that cross the blood stream from the mother to the fetus and go right straight to the unborn baby's brain. But also it could happen that the child's body create the antibodies. A group of people with Autism has been followed for about 30 years, the antibodies related to their Autism diagnosis that were found in their brains when they were babies still remind in there brains after 30 years. I did have a urinary track infection while I was pregnant with Tommy, so I got a little sad when I learned this in a webinar.

According to NBC News, "...Danish researchers analyzed medical records of 733,826 children born in Denmark over 10 years. Of those babies, 35,766, or nearly 5 percent, were documented as having jaundice. Of those, 1,721 children, or nearly 5 percent, developed a range of psychological disorders, including autism." The liver seems to work slower in kids with Autism, and it impresses me that this Danish study showed that nearly 5% of kids who developed jaundice were later diagnosed with a neurological disorders as Autism, so I am a believer that jaundice or non-share factors in the treatment for jaundice may pull the trigger for Autism later in these little kids –Tommy did have jaundice at birth!
Scientists are working on a test to find babies at risk of Autism. But it will take time to complete it. I do believe urinary infection during pregnancy as well as jaundice may be some of the early signs doctors will be looking into it to screen babies at risk of Autism. 

A study concluded that:
 "...Autism and ADHD are known to share symptoms, and approximately 30 percent of children with autism also meet the criteria for ADHD2. The two conditions oftenappear in the same families, and twin studies and genetic studies have suggested that they share genetic risk factors.
The new study is the first to look at the transmission of the two conditions from one generation to the next on a population-wide basis. It is also the first to find that a parent’s diagnosis of ADHD increases risk of the disorders in the child.“We’ve known for decades that ADHD is heritable. But now we’re starting to collect a body of evidence to suggest these two disorders do share some liability,” says lead investigator Erica Musser, assistant professor of child and adolescent psychology at Florida International University..."
Even the study for ADHD was done in mothers, there is a factor that cannot be diny: ADHD is heritable! If my memory doesn't fail, my husband was diagnosed with ADHD when he was a child and he was treated with Ritalin. My husband grew out of ADHD. 

All the genetic information for the autoimmune disorders, neurological disorderes and non-share factors mentioned above some how are part of Tommy's genetic. All 4 autoimmune disorders mention above run in our families and all of them have something in common, MITOCHONDRIAL DYSFUNCTION, which just recently was proven to be very common in kids with Autism. 

Tommy's genes are compromised due to
 his genetic disorder and they are also 
more sensitive due to our families health history, 
so I believe now that there was not way 
Tommy could scape from Autism.

The Autism Research Institute is a great source in understanding Autism and keep you update about the new findings and possible treatments for your child. Attend to the ARI's webinars, which are free. I highly recommend them!



Is Parkinson’s an Autoimmune Disease?
Large study links autism to autoimmune disease in mothers
Enviromental factors as important as genes in understanding Autism
Autism Link to jaundice in Newborns, study finds
Related Disease

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