Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition that occurs early in childhood. The severity of the condition varies; it is often characterized by repetitive behavior and communication problems. Usually, this is a bio-neurological developmental disability that appears before the age of 3.
According to a survey, the rate of autism has rapidly grown in the last two decades. In recent times, it was found that 1 in 59 children suffers from autism. It was also reported that boys are four times more likely to have autism. Autism is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders; however, it is still, the most underfunded disorder.
When it comes to the causes of autism, there is a lot of confusion. There was a time when people thought vaccines of rubella, measles, and mums causes Autism Spectrum Disorders. For many decades this misinformation prevailed. Some people believed that environmental factors lead to autism.
A new study was conducted that aimed at classifying the maternal, genetic, and environmental factors, which increases the risk of ASD.
Here is everything you need to know about this study.
Previously, many researchers claimed that the environment has a huge role to play in developing autism. It was reported that factors like chemical exposure and air pollution are the factors that contribute to the risk of autism. Moreover, some studies claimed that autism is caused by certain vaccines.
However, in a recent study, it was reported that the occurrence of ASD is influenced by genetic conditions.
According to Dr. Andrew Adesman, Director of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, many families focus on environmental risk factors when it comes to autism. For a long time, it was believed to the environment has a huge influence in developing autism. Now, it is found that the gene has a vital role in the development of autism.
A study was conducted involving more than 2 million people. It was published in the journal, JAMA Psychiatry. The result showed that nearly 80% of the risk of developing autism is because of genetic factors.
Sven Sandin, an epidemiologist, and statistician with Karolinska Institute in Sweden reported that in his study, after looking at 5 different samples, the most important were genetic factors.
In this study, researchers looked at the children born between 1st January 1998 to 31st December 2011 in Sweden, Western Australia, Denmark, Israel, and Finland. These children were followed up until the age of 16.
In this study, it was that maternal factors have no contribution to autism. Genetic factors had a huge role while environmental factors acted together with the gene.
In the end, it is important to keep in mind that autism can be caused by concurrent factors. It might be a blend of both, environmental and genetic factors. Sandin believes there is a need to work on the causes of ASD. This is because they don’t know which genes increase the risk of autism.