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What causes autism?

post #1 of 86
Thread Starter 
What do you think causes autism? Where do you wish they would do more research? What does your research, plus your gut instinct, tell you?

kathy
post #2 of 86
I personally believe there are probably as many causes of autism as kids who have it.

For us my gut definitely says genetics (my brother has aspergers, my dh is probably somewhere on the high functioning end of the spectrum himself, my dh has 2 first cousins who are autistic) most likely triggered by terbutaline during pregnancy...my dd is definitely not normal, I wouldn't be surprised if she some days ends up with a spectrum diagnosis as well, but whatever is going on does not negatively impact her life at all, so we just go with it, my ds however is a different story...He was diagnosed with ASD at 2 1/2, but it has been thrown around since he was 15 months old, the only real difference I can see is the terbutaline which I took from 19 weeks till 34 weeks pregnant and really wish I wouldn't of...I'm on bedrest now for pre-term labour again and am refusing it for this pregnancy.
post #3 of 86
I think autism is a natural genetic variation. Not what you wanted to hear, I'm sure!

I think research dollars should go towards helping autistic adults with life tasks they might find difficult, helping parents with the particular stresses of parenting an autistic child, and towards increased accessability for autistics in schools, the workplace, and other aspects of life.
post #4 of 86
Eh, I think it is a combination of things. I think some people would be autistic without any environmental triggers. I think some people would not be autistic even with every possible environmental trigger. And I think some people are in the middle. I think DS is in the middle and living in an orphanage for the first year of his life was an environmental trigger for him.

But what do I know?

I don't know where I'd put research money. I mostly think more money for services would be good. I think we've been really luck to receive decent services through the public schools. (I also think DS is very high functioning (whatever that means) or mildly affected or maybe not even really on the spectrum (the docs disagree) so our need for services is not so great.)
post #5 of 86
Quote:
I personally believe there are probably as many causes of autism as kids who have it.
ITA. I don't think there's any one thing that does or doesn't cause autism, as I also don't believe that everything that is currently being called "autism" is the same thing.

In our case with DD (age 4), I have no idea the cause. Her symptoms and medical factors are quite atypical. She doesn't really have repetitive behaviors or rigidity or limited interests. Most of the time she just has subtle motor issues and a language/communication processing disorder (which is enough to severely impair social interaction with peers and makes her qualify as PDD-NOS), but that fluctuates also. Honestly I think she has been misdiagnosed and actually has some sort of metabolic or atypical seizure disorder, and I think this might be fairly common among cases of so-called atypical autism with medical factors like gut problems.

I don't think her case is related to vaccines, because all of her symptoms around the time of a regression many months after we had stopped vaccinating, but I wouldn't rule out some type of immune system derangement as autoimmune disorders run strongly in the family.

I would definitely put more research money into making more therapy available, but I'd also want to study the subtypes so that therapy could be targeted better to the individual and that medical therapies could be made available to those that need them. I am so frustrated with the current state of understanding of language disorders, for example, and the frequent attempt of using boilerplate speech therapy techniques for all individuals in a way that doesn't necessarily target the problem.
post #6 of 86
I believed those with autism are genetically predisposed to it and it can be triggered by a lot of different factors; Environment, allergies, vaccines, diet, etc.
post #7 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by my3peanuts View Post
I believed those with autism are genetically predisposed to it and it can be triggered by a lot of different factors; Environment, allergies, vaccines, diet, etc.
: Pretty much that. Genetic predisposition triggered by an inflammatory state in the body caused by any number of things...illness, vaccines, allergies, autoimmune disorders, etc..

I think they need to hammer at the genetic portion and pin down the gene or set of genes before they do anything else.
post #8 of 86
I think it's genetic and some environmental things make it more pronounced.
post #9 of 86
Thread Starter 
Thanks, all! Would love to hear more opinions....

Krissi, your DD sounds like my nephew. He devoloped ASD late (no signs til almost 3)...at which point he had a total regression of language, but few other pronounced symptoms. His ASD began after a prolonged flu-like illness.

Individuation, Do you think all those on the Spectrum have a natural genetic variation? Also, if genetics is the factor, why are the numbers increasing? (This is debateable, some say it is just diagnosed more, but I don't agree....). If it were straight genetics wouldn't the numbers stay constant?


Kathy
post #10 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
Individuation, Do you think all those on the Spectrum have a natural genetic variation? Also, if genetics is the factor, why are the numbers increasing? (This is debateable, some say it is just diagnosed more, but I don't agree....). If it were straight genetics wouldn't the numbers stay constant?
Not all but most, and I think there can be aggravating factors in making the condition more/less difficult (diet, other medical issues, etc.) I also think there's a strong autoimmune factor. I think there are a lot of reasons the numbers are going up, and yes, more common diagnosis is one of them. Altair had an interesting theory about birth trauma/compromised oxygen delivery that seemed to make a lot of anecdotal sense in the context of my family, so I think there's a lot we don't know as of yet.

I also think the genetic factor is coming into play--I think more people on the spectrum are having children. We're less likely to have been called "retarded" and thus sterilized, or to have spent our lives in institutions, so yes, we marry and have more spectrum kids.
post #11 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Individuation View Post
I think more people on the spectrum are having children. We're less likely to have been called "retarded" and thus sterilized, or to have spent our lives in institutions, so yes, we marry and have more spectrum kids.
I DEFINITELY think this is true. Absolutely.
post #12 of 86
i read something about rhogham shots having a lot to do with the increase. apparently, nature had her way, before rhogham of stopping people from having babies with the blooy type issues. rhogham messed with that.

and also the mercury in rhogaham being injected into pregnant women, the mercury in flu shots being given (the fda says dont eat too much tuna due to mercury, but go ahead and inject yourself with flu vax's : )
amalgram fillings leaking mercury into the pregnant womens body....

i believe all of these things are creating more autistic kids. i also think vaccines are aggrivating certain childrens systems.

i dont buy the "its more diagnosed thing nowadays" . i just went to a vaccine seminar by Dr eisenstien and he agreed that that was the most ridiculous thing....he was like you dont miss an autisitic kid....its pretty OBVIOUS when one has autism/or is on the spectrum (by the medical professionals anyway). he also showed us a research study that showed NO autism in the amish community. this reporter went there to dispprove a link between vaccines and autism. he figured he would find just as much austim there as there is amongst us. out of thousands of amish, he found 4 or 5 cases. and all of those cases were kids who were adopted and previously vaxed. interesting...here is the article on that:
http://www.homefirst.com/autism_dan_olmstead.html
post #13 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Individuation View Post
Altair had an interesting theory about birth trauma/compromised oxygen delivery that seemed to make a lot of anecdotal sense in the context of my family, so I think there's a lot we don't know as of yet.
That does sound pretty interesting. I've long had a theory about premature/NICU babies and sensory issues, I wonder how the 2 would fit together?

Quote:
I also think the genetic factor is coming into play--I think more people on the spectrum are having children. We're less likely to have been called "retarded" and thus sterilized, or to have spent our lives in institutions, so yes, we marry and have more spectrum kids.
That wouldn't surprise me one bit. In addition, I wonder how much the internet helps the "higher functioning" (I cannot come up with a better term, someone help???) folks who may have been too quirky or shy or whatever to find a mate in their own RL social circles? With the internet, you can reach so many more people and are more likely to find someone you click with, in addition to the fact that some of us prefer the written word for communication. Thus, you're/we're more likely to find someone compatible to marry and have children with!

Anyway, I agree, it's primarily genetic. Environmental stuff can change the presentation and make things easier or more difficult for a lot of folks, but I think there's got to be some underlying factor. Every kid who's vaccinated doesn't end up on the spectrum...so what's the difference? Why do some react badly and some not at all?

My thoughts on research are a bit muddled at the moment, I'll come back to that later!
post #14 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by nataliachick7 View Post
i dont buy the "its more diagnosed thing nowadays" . i just went to a vaccine seminar by Dr eisenstien and he agreed that that was the most ridiculous thing....he was like you dont miss an autisitic kid....its pretty OBVIOUS when one has autism/or is on the spectrum (by the medical professionals anyway).
I'm sorry, but if you came from a family with multi-generational autistic issues, you would realize that the diagnostic criteria have in fact changed. The solid, medical, diagnostic criteria. I'm not saying that to be rude, and I'm not making a statement here one way or another about vaccines. However, in the 1970s the diagnostic criteria for autism were significantly stricter (a child who made ANY eye contact was officially NOT autistic) and things were considered "psychological" which are now considered "developmental."

I understand where your doctor is coming from, but I think the misunderstanding here is a doctor of 1975 would send an autistic child of today home with no diagnosis. They certainly would have a diagnosis, but it likely would not have been autism. Remember, children diagnosed as having "autistic behaviors" were NOT included in the official count, because even though they probably fit the criteria your doctor was describing above ("you know it when you see it") they could not be called autistic for other reasons---maybe they talked, or had made a friend.

A good resource for a lot of this is to read some of the work done in the 70s and 80s by speciad-ed pioneers like Torey Hayden. Throughout her books she described working with children who are not called "autistic" but obviously are by today's criteria.

ETA: When I gave my official childhood diagnosis to a neuro-psych, her response was "Oh, they don't have that anymore... it comes under the 'autism' umbrella now." I think that's a pretty strong sign they've loosened the diagnostic criteria.
post #15 of 86
[QUOTE=myjulybabes;8063675] Every kid who's vaccinated doesn't end up on the spectrum...so what's the difference? Why do some react badly and some not at all?

QUOTE]

1 in 150 children in the usa is enough though, isnt it? and that is only going to increase.
post #16 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by nataliachick7 View Post
1 in 150 children in the usa is enough though, isnt it? and that is only going to increase.
*deleted, because I don't think this forum is the place for this discussion*
post #17 of 86
In a sense, the Amish theory that there are no autistic Amish kids does lend itself to the theory that it's genetic. One could argue that the families that make up Amish communities never had the autism gene.
post #18 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Individuation View Post
Why would it increase in light of the removal of thimerosol from vaccines? SHouldn't it in fact decrease in order to prove that theory?
nope. first of all, thimerosol is still in vaccines. perhaps you can go to the vaccinations forum and read up on it. thimerosol is used to prevent bacterial growth, and they suck it out at the end of the process. the problem is, thimerosol binds to everything, so it is STILL in the vaccines.

secondly, thimerosol isnt the only thing in vaccines that is linked to autism. all of the ingredients and metals in there are an assualt on the immune system.

"Vaccine dangers are not just about Thimerosal" you can listen to this radio program from autism one that breaks it down for you.
http://autismone.org/radio/?archive=740 click the play button once on the page.
if that link doesnt work, type in autism one in google, and go to autism one radio. once in the site type in "vaccine" in the search bar. it will give you results and look for the one that is titled what i underlined.

and an article:
Article: Measles Vaccine Undeniably Linked to Autism
post #19 of 86
I think it's a little bit of everything. My ds1 had feeding issues early on. Poor latch caused severe jaundice, requiring hospitalization at 10 days old. Did the sensory issues of early autism cause the poor latch (he still has oral defensive issues), causing the jaundice or did the jaundice cause the neurological damage that turned into autism? Chicken and egg for me. Did vax's aggrevate the dx? No idea- I selectively vax- none of the 'new' vax's.

It's just something I don't think we'll ever get to know for sure, at least not in my lifetime.
post #20 of 86
I personally don't think any one thing causes it. I think it's just a variant of our human species development. This is entirely my own opinion and I could certainly be wrong.

I think it's just a regular variant of the human condition and I think that environmental factors can make it worse. My DH and I have no other ASD in our family. My DS has no DX but IMO he's somewhere on the spectrum. I think that with our advanced knowledge doctors are recognizing it more but honestly I think it was always there. I think that before we just thought people were eccentric or 'retarded'.

I was worried about the MMR so I divided it up since my DS was 'unusual' which just means not like my DD. It really didn't make any difference...but hopefully it didn't make it worse than it could be. I don't know...these are just my ramblings.
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