Monday, January 23, 2006

On Autism

Genetic Causes of Autism

Autism is a condition wherein children have social interaction and communication difficulties. They have severe problems expressing themselves verbally or non-verbally to others. They are mostly kept on their own, not speaking, or having less interaction with another child or individual whether for leisure or playing games. Autism is commonly observed within the first three years of a child, adult cases of autism can be observed too.

Recent studies have shown that autism could be genetic. Generally, it has been accepted that autism is caused by brain abnormalities and malfunctions. The theory is now being evaluated and finalized as one of the possible reasons a child or individual could be autistic. Experts have outlined several points to back- up the theory which they formulated based on their research.
It has been seen that on the subject of identical twins, it is likely that the other twin will develop autism if one of them does. Although the percentage ratio among research groups varies comparatively, they all agree that the likelihood of the theory is within 50% to 90%. The odds rely on the variables like environment where the child is raised, especially if they are apart during childhood, and of course how they are individually raised in their early years.

There is another theory on autism which is called ‘one-gene causing autism theory’. This states that there is a particular gene present in an individual which is the main reason of acquiring autism. This model is not yet fully proved. Researches have not seen a single cell or gene to date that has the capability to trigger autism by itself.

Consequently, it is also stipulated that there is a need for multiple genes present before autism to occur. This is the exact opposite of the theory above. Here, several genes are considered. An example is, if in the thirty genes that could have caused autism, an individual acquiring any five or more of which would be likely to develop. It is believed in this case that a cluster of genes could cause severe disruptions in the brain, making autism evident.

The most celebrated cause of the genetically caused autism is the discovery of the presence of a gene expression or a gene marker. This theory means that the structure of the genes is altered, therefore giving way to autism. Small alteration in the genetic code which could possibly be reverberation in the protein structure is the main cause of autism development in children and individuals. Gene stresses are being studied as to how these alterations come about. The DNA sequence of an autistic child could still be intact, unlike the already proven genetic-related disorder like Downer’s Syndrome. Accordingly, this alteration in the genes can be inherited. It is further known that the metal content of the food we eat could contribute to it.
There are a few other explanations and theories linking the cause of autism to genes. There seems to be a pattern of autism occurrences within families affected by the defect which is why the theory is further looked into.

Scientists continuously looking into different causes of autism only show the need to cure and understand the individuals with such defect. We, as normal individuals should take on the challenge do whatever we can to support and uphold their recovery and improvement, leading to their alleviation.


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