What Causes Autism?

Author
By shirley
Reviewed
Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. 'Autism Spectrum Disorder Fact Sheet.' _National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke_, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Autism-Spectrum-Disorder-Fact-Sheet#3082 5.
  • 2. 'What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?' _Centers for Disease Control and Prevention_, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 Mar. 2020, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.html.
  • 3. 'Autism Causes.' _Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC)_, 2 Oct. 2019, www.autismcenter.org/autism-causes.
  • 4. 'What Causes Autism?' _Autism Speaks_, www.autismspeaks.org/what-causes-autism.
  • 5. 'Autism Causes.' _Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC)_, 2 Oct. 2019, www.autismcenter.org/autism-causes.
  • 6. 'Large Study on Parent Age & Autism Finds Increased Risk with Teen Moms.' _Autism Speaks_, www.autismspeaks.org/science-news/large-study-parent-age-autism-finds-increased-risk-teen-moms.
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  • 8. 'Key Findings: Autism Is Associated with Amount of Time Between Births._' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention_, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 Aug. 2019, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/features/time-between-births.html.
  • 9. 'Key Findings: Opioids Prescribed Just Before Pregnancy Associated With Autism.' _Centers for Disease Control and Prevention_, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 Aug. 2019, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/features/kf-opioids-pregnancy-autism.html.
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Medical Expert Medical Expert

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder. People with autism may exhibit repetitive behaviors and experience difficulty interacting with others. Autism symptoms appear in early childhood and may include avoiding eye contact, limited babbling and tendencies to focus on select objects. Disruptions of routines may cause problems. Physical abilities vary, with some ASD children needing substantial assistance with daily activities and others remaining relatively independent. Some children with autism are nonverbal, while others speak somewhat fluently, but their voices may be flat and sentence constructions awkward.

The causes of autism are unclear, and studies are ongoing. Probable culprits include environmental and genetic factors.1‘Autism Spectrum Disorder Fact Sheet.’ National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Autism-Spectrum-Disorder-Fact-Sheet#3082 5.

1. Abnormal Brain Structure/Function

Imaging tests performed on those diagnosed with autism reveal differences in brain structure compared to the brain structure in neurotypical children (without autism). The reasons for these variances are still under investigation. There appear to be differences in the development of various regions of the brain. Some studies indicate these anomalies may occur in the early stages of brain development.1‘Autism Spectrum Disorder Fact Sheet.’ National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Autism-Spectrum-Disorder-Fact-Sheet#3082 5.

ASD encompasses several disorders, including Asperger syndrome, autistic disorder and pervasive developmental disorders not otherwise specified. Autism may arise due to various factors that occur before, during and after birth.2‘What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 Mar. 2020, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.html. Multiple studies indicate that parenting practices and vaccines do not cause autism.1‘Autism Spectrum Disorder Fact Sheet.’ National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Autism-Spectrum-Disorder-Fact-Sheet#3082 5.

Autism

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