Mayo Clinic: ‘Autism has no single known cause’

Mayo Clinic: ‘Autism has no single known cause’

February 19, 2012 8:51 PM

One of the fallacies about autism is that it is solely caused by genetics. The fact is genetics is a major cause of autism but not the only trigger. According to the famed Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, “autism has no single, known cause.

Given (its) complexity, the range of autistic disorders and the fact that no two children with autism are alike, there are likely many causes. These may include genetic problems. A number of genes appear to be involved in autism. Environmental factors (also appear to be an issue).

(In the world of disease and disorders) many health problems are due to both genetic and environmental factors. This is likely the case with autism as well.”

A few years ago, a young mother came into the teacher’s room with her 6-year-old son Zeke. The boy had not started school until he was in first grade. His parents were overly protective of Zeke. His older siblings did not have autism but one of Zeke’s first cousins did, another boy.

The teacher knew autism was more prevalent in boys than girls. Yet, for a young parent it can be overwhelming when another pregnancy is on the way. Zeke’s mother was pregnant and terrified that she might have a second child with autism.

Zeke’s mother wasn’t the first parent that had come to the teacher’s classroom talking about relatives with autism. In the past, the teacher had siblings in her classroom with the same disorder.

One brother, Pete, had high anxiety but was able to function in a mixture of special education with general education. He was a gentle boy who got along well with his peers. Yet, his awkwardness and lack of social skills sometimes caused problems for the child while in the regular education setting.

His brother, Tommy, had classic autism. He seemed not to be able to process certain foods well. Tommy was a handful. The boy could easily become aggressive kicking and scratching anyone who was nearby. Yet Tommy was very bright, taking in everything around him. He would listen and watch often surprising those around him with his knowledge.

Tommy and Pete were about as opposite of brothers as you could get. Pete was tall with dark hair and deep brown eyes. Tommy had light brown hair and was short and stocky. Yet, relatives they were, and both had autism.

Tommy’s mother also was pregnant with her third child. She had not realized that her first two boys had autism until they were 2 and 4. When she had her baby Justin, the mother decided to hold off on some of the inoculations. Julie was terrified that her family had a predisposition to immunity problems.

Both of her sons Tommy and Pete got sick easily. Julie felt that she had made the mistake of having her sons inoculated when they had allergy problems in full swing. Julie decided to inoculate Justin when he had no health issues going on. The baby only got his vaccinations when his health was great.

Justin’s mother also had the boy’s vaccinations given a little bit slower than what was typical, just for precaution. Justin had completed most of his vaccines but with genetic concerns looming in the background, Julie decided to be very careful. She already had two boys with autism and didn’t want a third.

Not all of the teacher’s students had family members with autism. In fact, that was the challenge. Some families had more than one member with autism while others did not. A few of the family members had ADHD issues mixed in with autism too. Plus, similar types of professionals seemed to have more children with autism in her classroom.

The teacher noted that many of her students had mothers and fathers whom were in common professions such as computer programming, accounting, and medicine.

If you have a genetic predisposition towards autism, learn more about the disability from such websites aswww.autismspeaks/ and There are plenty of websites on autism.

Plus, speaking to a specialist in genetics can also be an important tool when wanting to understand what factors may be leading to a greater chance of autism within your own family’s history.

Waiting to have children at later age can increase the chance for autism. Immunity issues, environmental triggers in your surroundings may play a factor in triggering genetic components in your own family history. Ultimately, the best method in addressing questions on autism within your family is to become informed on the latest research, which is constantly being updated.


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