|It is having been born into a family where both sides have parents or grandparents with any autoimmune disease.
I respectfully disagree with this statement. I have 2 children on the autism spectrum and there are zero autoimmune disorders/diseases anywhere in the family tree.
As for what the genetic defect is, scientists have only recently identified a gene that they believe is linked to autism. Here's a report about it: http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Living/ap20040401_10.html
Scientists Identify Gene Linked to Autism
Scientists Identify Gene That May Raise Child's Risk of Autism by
Twofold or More
The Associated Press
NEW YORK April 1 - Scientists say they've identified two variants of
a single gene that might raise a child's risk of autism by twofold or
The variants are fairly common and can't bring on the disease by
themselves, the researchers said. Scientists believe several genes,
perhaps five to 10, have to work together to produce autism.
Previous studies have identified variants in other genes that might
contribute to the disease but none has been proven to do so. Finding
autism-related genes might help scientists develop treatments for the
The new work provides strong evidence that the gene influences
susceptibility to autism, but more studies will be needed to confirm the
link, said lead study author Joseph Buxbaum of the Mount Sinai School of
Medicine in New York.
"It looks like they might have something there ... but it's a bit too
soon to say definitively," said Susan Santangelo, a Harvard expert not
involved in the study. The study appears in the April issue of the
American Journal of Psychiatry.
Autism, which normally appears by age 3 and usually in boys, interferes
with a child's ability to communicate and interact with others. Affected
children might not respond to their names or even look at other people.
The new study looked at 411 families, analyzing DNA from more than 2,000
people. Of those, 720 had autism.
The study found that the two gene variants had been inherited by family
members with autism more often than one would expect by chance. That
implicates the variants in the disease.
The gene is involved in providing energy to brain cells, so variant
versions might hamper the operation of those cells, the researchers
My theory is that there is something that "triggers" autism in a young child. If they carry the genes that make them more susceptible to autism and then meet with an environmental "trigger", they develop autism. Much like a person may be susceptible to developing breast cancer and something triggers the growth of cancerous cells, kwim? I believe that thimerosal and other toxins in vaccines can trigger autism just because I have seen it happen with my own kids.
Oh, and fwiw, there are still vaccines being manufactured with thimerosal. It was RECOMMENDED that vaccine manufacturers stop using thimerosal, but no one ORDERED it, so some manufacturers are STILL using thimerosal in their vaccines. It is wrong to say that thimerosal-laden vaccines are not still being used. They are. But ya know, it's not like the new preservative agents they're using are any better. 2-phenoxyethanol is the chemical equivalent of antifreeze! It's also toxic to human cells....so not much improvement over thimerosal.