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  1. #1
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    Scientists warn of chemical-autism link

    http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/0...ink/?hpt=hp_t2

    Scientists warn of chemical-autism link

    ...Studies have strongly suggested a genetic component in the cause of autism, but it's becoming clear that genetics alone isn't the whole story; there could be interactions between susceptibility genes and environmental chemicals.

    Recent research from her group, appearing in the journal Epidemiology, showed that prenatal vitamins taken prior to conception seem to interact with certain metabolizing genes that are inherited. Those women who did not take the vitamins, and had the high-risk genotypes, were more likely to have a child with autism. Still, this was a small study limited in scope, and more research should be done to confirm these findings.

    The central nervous system of the fetus is sensitive to a wide range of chemicals, Hertz-Piccotto said. Hormones, such as estrogens and androgens, are essential for proper brain development. Endocrine-disrupting compounds need more research, she said. Flame-retardant chemicals called PBDEs interfere with the body's hormones. Even though many of them are no longer used in manufacturing, they can hang around in the environment and the human body for a long time. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is aware of concerns about these chemicals and is working on accessing substitutions (see the action plan)....

  2. #2
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    This argument has been around for a long time....first with the vaccine debate, then with other environmental factors. Genetics vs. environment. As I've said elsewhere, I have two children at different points on the spectrum, one w/ Asperger's and the other PDD-NOS. My husband and I both have cousins whose children are on the spectrum. I am not going to speak for other parents out there, I can only speak for my own experience. I believe the autism in our children to be genetic-based. Strongest med I took during both pregnancies was my prenatal vitamin, and maybe tylenol once in a while, don't drink or smoke either. It's just the way my kids' brains are wired...I have accepted that, and now I'm just trying to find the best way to help my kids figure out the world around them. And hopefully, teach the world that differences need to be understood, accepted, and not belittled or persecuted for those differences.

  3. #3
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    I've always wondered if there isn't a genetic predisposition and an exposure to a virus while in the womb or shortly thereafter that causes Autism and other pervasive development disorders. The virus itself may not even cause symptoms in the adult Mother, but could wreak havoc on the unborn child's developing neural system.

    I've been interested in the link between those two above and the development of schizophrenia.

    (I know that the two disorders/diseases are vastly different, just wondering about the origin of both. I have a direct family member that had schizophrenia and a relative of my Husband's who falls on the autism spectrum).
    Last edited by Kat; 06-08-2011 at 10:30 PM. Reason: spelling and to add a sentence.

  4. #4
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    Interesting. I've always thought this incredible increase to be an environmental cause, it seems plausible it have a genetic component as well. I hope they find an answer...

  5. #5
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    http://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/...-genes-collide

    When Engineers' Genes Collide
    Could modern patterns of marriage be concentrating the genes that predispose people to autism?
    By Philip E. Ross / October 2006

    ...Among the children of engineers, autism and related conditions are found twice as often as in the general population, according to British studies, and are unusually common even in the grandchildren of engineers. Anecdotally, hot spots of autism have been reported in major centers of engineering, including Silicon Valley; Austin, Texas; and Boston’s Route 128 technology ring.

    Autism is a developmental impairment affecting the ability to communicate and socialize. It is called a spectrum disorder, because it can appear in greatly varying degrees, often showing up early in life. Symptoms include poor language development, lack of empathy, resistance to changes in routine, repetitive behavior, and obsessive interests. At one end of the spectrum are people who retreat into their own world and become profoundly retarded; at the other are those with ”high-functioning autism” who, though they lack some degree of intuition about what others are thinking, can often figure things out through logical analysis, a ”human-hacking” process not unlike the efforts of Mr. Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan character in the TV series ”Star Trek.”...


  6. #6
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    So interesting. In our family, the little canary was our granddaughter who was obviously on the spectrum since birth. She's now diagnosed with high-functioning autism but has severe behavior issues (aggression and rages). She's 11 years old. A couple of years after she was born, each of our three birth sons developed bipolar--each a unique form of the disorder. Then one also developed multiple sclerosis. The following year, I was hit by what most doctors thought was also MS but which turned out to be Spinocerebellar Ataxia. A coincidence?

    Each of the these young men are ours by birth. Each was born a healthy 8-9 lb. full term baby and each was nursed for 1-2 years. All the boys were totally healthy until their 28th year, when each domino-ed into bipolar. Interestingly enough, our granddaughter who has autism was also just diagnosed with bipolar. We also lost a newborn granddaughter to Beckwith-Wiedemann's Syndrome...an overgrowth of cells somehow caused by a faulty gene linked to her father, our son . She only lived for four hours. I was active, never depressed or down, running a million miles a day just to keep up with my kids and my advocacy until June 6, 2004 at 9:10 am. In five seconds, my life turned upside down. Now, seven years later, the doctors say it's all linked to folate absorption or lack thereof. Folate. Never would I have guessed.

    But we all knew, in our hearts, that there was some sort of connection. We've had zillions of tests--MRIs, bloodwork, spinal taps. I've been to the Mayo and the boys have been to the specialists in Portland. Our granddaughter is seen at Stanford in CA. The only commonality, so far, is that we all test positive for a genetic mutation (homozygous) which prevents the absorption of folate--MTHFR (that acronym is not hard to remember, is it?). We all have to take a special bio-available supplement for the rest of our lives. I've been told that it didn't help that I took my prenatals as the babies still couldn't absorb any, or very little. We have four other grandchildren by birth, age 5-7, who are now being tested. One of those children also exhibits subtle signs of spectrum disorder. Possibly, with the appropriate folate, he will not develop autism.

    I'll never understand how all of us could be so healthy and vibrant for decades before hitting a brick wall. I don't fully understanding the sequence of this genetic flaw. The doctors have given us some theories but I don't think they fully understand this yet either. Here's just a few links about the possible connection between folate absorption and autism, mental illness, cancers and central nervous system diseases:

    http://www.jpands.org/vol9no4/boris.pdf

    http://www.bh4.org/pdf/cario_2011_ajhg.pdf

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/08/c...sclerosis.html

    The brain is a curious organ. So many disorders and neuro-differences are connected. It was only 60 years ago that MS was referred to as hysteria and the current medical mysteries are still hidden behind a veil. I have no doubt we'll know far more next year and even more in 20 years. I'll never forget what the neurologist at the Mayo Clinic told me, though. He said, "we'll be certain about your diagnosis when we can do your autopsy".

    I'm good, thanks. I can wait.

  7. #7
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    I haven't had a chance to check out your links yet but that's fascinating. I have an appointment with my neurologist coming up and I'll ask her what she knows about it. She probably knows less than your doctors though.

  8. #8
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    It's pretty darn new to me too. I think the interest came about due to people with schizophrenia in Europe being put on this special bioavailable folate. Amazingly, they all did much better. Then they moved over to bipolar and autism. So many neuro disorders are somehow connected. I'm sitting here looking at a sheet of info from one of our doctors and they link this genetic mutation to depression, anxiety, ADD, autism, miscarriage, gout, neuropathy and dementia. The dementia is where I come in as my cerebellum is degenerating and I'm losing certain abilities. What I still can't figure out, as it's quite new and there aren't any lay books on this issue, is whether a child or an adult develops an neuro disorder due to a lack of folate absorption or does it merely make them more likely to have a problem? Or does having it simply cause certain meds not to work as well? In other words, what comes first? Many doctors in our area (Oregon) are encouraging those who take psychotropics to add Deplin. Well Deplin is a brand name of the bioavailable folate. Supposedly, the folate helps the neurotransmitters utilize the psychotropic med far better. But did the lack of folate cause the problem in the first place? If you fixed the folate, would the disease disappear or improve? Would degenerative disorders stop progressing? I'm a questioner and I don't like to take anything I don't really need. So far, though, five different GPs and psychiatrists (one in Minnesota and four in Oregon) are strongly suggesting our family take this supplement. By why is this just now suddenly coming to light? It makes me wonder if there wasn't some huge folate absorption seminar in the last year.

    The supplement costs about 75 cents per day for 10 mg. (a common dose) but our insurance turned it down as it's still considered a food supplement. Odd that they cover our son's Copaxone and Seroquel and all my seizure meds. What if we didn't need them if the folate worked? They did cover the bloodwork, though, to determine that we all have the homozygous form. I've been taking it for only 2 weeks so I can't really draw any conclusions yet. No side effects though, at all. But I'm not bounding out of bed nor have my seizures ceased. I honestly don't know where this is going....just reporting from the front. It could be just a flash in the pan or it could be really something. It intrigues me as it's the very first thing to link all of our family's unusual illnesses together. This has made me very relieved that only 3 of our 14 children were born to us and only five of our grandchildren are related biologically.



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