Monday, November 25, 2013

Causes of Autism

Until recently, most scientists believed that autism is caused mostly by genetic factors. But groundbreaking new research indicates that environmental factors may be just as important in the development of autism—if not more so—than genes.
It appears that certain babies are born with a genetic vulnerability to autism that is then triggered by something in the external environment, either while he or she is still in the womb or sometime after birth.

Causes of autism
It’s important to note that the environment, in this context, means anything outside the body. It’s not limited to things like pollution or toxins in the atmosphere. In fact, one of the most important environments appears to be the prenatal environment.

Prenatal factors that may contribute to autism

  • Taking antidepressants during pregnancy, especially in the first 3 months
  • Nutritional deficiencies early in pregnancy, particularly not getting enough folic acid
  • The age of the mother (children born to older fathers also have a higher risk of autism)
  • Complications at or shortly after birth, including very low birth weight and neonatal anemia
  • Maternal infections during pregnancy
  • Exposure to chemical pollutants, such as metals and pesticides, while pregnant 
    Causes of autism picture
While more research on these prenatal risk factors is needed, if you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, it can’t hurt to take steps now to reduce your baby’s risk of autism.

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