April is World Autism Month. In the previous articles, we’ve discussed the basic facts you should know about autism and the early signs and symptoms in children that you need to watch our for. But we all know that preventative measures are always the best and, in this post, we’re going to look at the common causes of autism. This can be broken down into three main categories – genes, environmental and other health conditions.
There is some research that suggests a child can inherit certain genes from their parents that will make them more susceptible to developing autism. Whilst a single gene hasn’t been identified, autism has been known to run in families. Younger siblings and twins can develop autism when other members of the family have already been diagnosed.
Due to the fact that a specific gene hasn’t been identified, it’s believed that a whole string of genetic code is responsible for the condition. These genetic codes don’t guarantee that a child develops autism but can create a genetic vulnerability that means there’s a higher risk of autism developing later on.
When someone suffers from a genetic vulnerability as discussed above, certain environmental factors can lead to an individual developing autism. Some triggers can include premature birth – birth before 35 weeks – or exposure to alcohol or certain medications during pregnancy. Sodium valproate, which is used to treat epilepsy during pregnancy, is thought to be connected to a child developing autism.
The difficulty with other triggers is that preventative measures can be difficult to identify as there’s no conclusive evidence that links things such as pollution or maternal infections.
Other health conditions
Other health conditions, such as muscular dystrophy – a genetic condition that gradually causes muscle weakness – can increase the risk of your child developing autism.
Down’s syndrome – another genetic condition – cerebral palsy, a form of epilepsy called infant spasms and neurofibromatosis are all conditions that increase the risk of developing autism.
As with most conditions, there are common misconceptions about the causes of autism and so it’s worth being wary in order to not be led astray. Over the years, a number of claims have been made about the causes of autism, but extensive research hasn’t provided any evidence to support these claims.
Many campaigns against vaccinations have tried to demonstrate the link with autism. The MMR vaccine in particular and a mercury compound, called thiomersal, which is used as a preservative in vaccines were, for a very long time, both thought of as causes of autism.
The way someone has been brought was also thought to be a contributing factor and that environmental triggers around the home could be the cause of autism. An individual’s diet was also thought to be responsible, such as eating dairy or gluten products.
If you have any concerns about the causes of autism, or want to know more about the condition, then speak to your doctor who will be able to provide you with more information.
Cord Blood Stem Cells for Autism
Cord blood stem cells are currently being used in clinical trials to treat autism. At Cells4Life, we have released cord blood samples for autism at the Duke University Hospital, USA. Saving your baby’s cord blood at birth is your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve the most powerful stem cells they will ever have. These stem cells are currently being used to treat more than 85 medical conditions and are a subject of many on-going clinical trials.
Want to learn more about how to preserve your baby’s cord blood at birth? Speak to one of our representatives now at +97143116613 or download a FREE Info Pack here.