Causes of Autism Spectrum Disorder

 

“Men and women are puzzled by everything I do. My parents and those who love me are embarrassed and worried. Doctors use different terminologies to describe me. I just wonder. The thoughts are bigger than my expressions to get a shape. Every move that I make interprets my helpless way to show how trapped I feel in the continuous flow of happenings. The happenings occur in a way that shows the continuity of cause and effect. The effect of a cause becomes the cause of another effect. And I wonder . . .

—Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay, The Mind Tree

Autism was described in the Indian scientific literature as early as 1944 in India. At first, ASD was thought to be a psychiatric challenge, but is now viewed as a neurological challenge. Due to the advancement of technologies in place scientists are now able to research the autistic brain in more depth.

“In, The Autistic Brain, Temple Grandin and Richard Panek ask the question, “What if some neuroanatomical finding or combination of them could serve as a reliable diagnostic tool?” A diagnosis based not only on behaviors but on biology as well would make a big difference in predicting deficits and targeting treatments. Doctors could:

Apply early intervention even in early infancy when the brain is most susceptible to being rewired
Target areas in the brain more locally, rehabilitating parts of the brain they think they can help
Test new therapies and monitor existing therapies more closely
Tailor a prognosis to an individual child on a case-by-case scenario”

 

 

The Environment, Genes and Autism

The growth of Autism is continually rising, but causes are not completely well understood yet. Some environmental factors have been shown to interfere with genes. A mother who is exposed to harmful contaminants might trigger a genetic mutation leading to autism in her child. A research program of the MIND institute was divided into three areas – nutrition, air pollution, and pesticides. The results showed
Lack of vitamin supplementation three months before delivery can increase the risk of autism.
Living near the highway were high in risk of autism due to exposure of automotive exhaust.
Mothers who are obese typically have higher chances of their children suffering from developmental delays/

Other research has been done with relation to autism and vaccinations. some children have shown signs of autism after taking their 18-month vaccine. The vaccines don’t necessarily cause autism but due to certain environmental factors and genetics autism can be detected in some children.

Many debates are currently going on about autism and vaccination relations. But it is very important to note that vaccinations do not cause autism. There is a specific organic compound known as thimerosal, which is present in some vaccinations. This compound can possibly trigger children that are genetically predisposed to have autism and who have low functioning immune systems.

 

 

Latest on Autism

Recent studies in 2020 have shown in children with autism, repetitive behaviors and gastrointestinal problems may be connected, new research has found. “The research helps establish that gastrointestinal symptoms may exacerbate repetitive behaviors, or vice versa, a finding that could one day help lead to helpful interventions”, said Payal Chakraborty, a graduate student in The Ohio State University College of Public Health who led the study.

 

 

Conclusion
The most that can be done for children and even adults on the spectrum is help them make sense of the world and give them the proper tools to function in their communities. In this way, people on the spectrum can live independent and fulfilling lives. Parents can help their children find their areas of strength and passion to make their lives enjoyable. Keep in mind that there are certain things you can and cannot change, identify what you can change and move forward from there. There are also plenty of resources available for the entire family. Most importantly, keep in mind that early intervention is the best thing you can do for your child.

 

References

Ohio State University. “Autism study suggests connection between repetitive behaviors, gut problems: Severity of GI symptoms, other autism symptoms also associated.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/12/201203094542.htm>.

Payal Chakraborty, Kimberly L H Carpenter, Samantha Major, Megan Deaver, Saritha Vermeer, Brianna Herold, Lauren Franz, Jill Howard, Geraldine Dawson. Gastrointestinal problems are associated with increased repetitive behaviors but not social communication difficulties in young children with autism spectrum disorders. Autism, 2020; 136236132095950 DOI: 10.1177/1362361320959503

Sicile-Kira, C., & Grandin, T. (2014). Autism Spectrum Disorder (revised). East Rutherford: Penguin Publishing Group.