Monday, January 10, 2011

No one knows what really causes autism

CNN, January 6, 2011 -- The controversy surrounding a retracted study that linked autism to childhood vaccines has been fueled by the fact that no one knows what really causes autism.

"If we knew, it would change this whole debate altogether," said CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Researchers believe both genetics and environmental factors play a role in the development of autism spectrum disorders. According to the National Institutes of

Health, researchers have "identified a number of genes associated with the disorder. Studies of people with ASD have found irregularities in several regions of the brain. Other studies suggest that people with ASD have abnormal levels of serotonin or other neurotransmitters in the brain."

The abnormalities suggest that ASDs could be caused by a disruption in brain development during the fetal stage, "possibly due to the influence of environmental factors on gene function."

But these findings are only preliminary and ... Read more>>

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