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Autism Could Begin Before Child Is Born

Autism Could Begin Before Child Is Born
New clues suggest autism could be detected before birth.

"Researchers found unusual cell development in parts of children's brains that develop during pregnancy. The abnormalities were found in areas that control social functioning, emotions, and communication." (Via CBS)

The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers studied brain tissue from 11 children who died young and also had autism.

The study revealed patches of disorganization of neurons near the cortex of the brain, a thin layer of cells that control learning and memory.

One of the researchers told NBC the cells didn't develop properly. "Brain cells are there but they haven't changed into the kind of cell they are supposed to be. It's a failure of early formation."

These are signs that the changes causing autism likely happen while a child is still in the womb. (Via KCNC)

But according to a writer for Wired, these latest findings will only add to the uncertainty of autism research, where the neuroscience and genetics are already conflicted.

"The researchers found these abnormalities in ... areas with roles in language and cognition that are - in a very broad and hand-wavey sort of way - relevant to the symptoms of autism. They did not see them in the occipital cortex, a region primarily associated with vision, which isn't typically disrupted in autism."

While these researchers do believe their findings are a step forward in early detection of autism, some doctors say to be cautious about any findings.

A geneticist at UCLA told NPR he'd like to know the results from hundreds of brains, rather than just 11. "What fraction of all the kids with autism are going to have these small patches? I think the jury's out on that."

Currently, autism affects 1 in 50 U.S. children. No cure has been discovered.

Join the discussion

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bergerqueenbee March 27 2014 at 1:47 PM

Hmmm. Would that mean vaccinations would NOT be causing autism?

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Fran March 27 2014 at 1:08 PM

It needs more research but this makes a lot of sense to me.

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colorbows March 27 2014 at 4:02 PM

CORRECTION, the poor circulation occured before she was born.

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1 reply
jybingdownwind colorbows March 28 2014 at 12:12 AM

I didn't see the post you're responding to, colorbows, but we know that poor circulation can make big problems even with identical twins. The twins may be genetically identical, but they don't have identical environments. Very often one twin is born more robust and generally more healthy than the other. Fairly often, the twin whose pre-birth situation wasn't quite as good develops AD/HD, or bipolar, or any number of conditions that the other twin never develops.

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almasearch March 27 2014 at 1:12 PM

I can believe this, but my question still is: Is there something that is causing this, or is this just another genetic variant that has always been there thus creating people in the spectrum of that "personality". It has been suggested that the Albert Einsteins and Bill Gates are all in the spectrum, and that without this "variant" leading to this type of personality, we as humans would still be living in caves.

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2 replies
potmind almasearch March 27 2014 at 1:34 PM

Autism seems to be a recent problem. Or was it that it was handled as mental disease, a century ago? In the meantime, we have plenty of people still living in caves today... and they don't quite drag their women by the hair, but fairly close.

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2 replies
txholdemsdarlin potmind March 27 2014 at 1:49 PM

Hum could it be GMO veggies, they seem to have hit the market about the same time, as autism became a problem. GMO corn is in everything.

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AUNTJAN98 potmind March 27 2014 at 1:57 PM

autism has been around for a long time....my son was born in 1967 an he was autistic and now I have a 7yr old grandson that is autistic

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amosdoyle almasearch March 27 2014 at 6:48 PM

Well, Einstein and Bill Gates are not smearing their poop on the wall or banging their head there. Neither are they twirling and rocking around. And oh yeah, they can speak too.

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PAT DEEL March 27 2014 at 1:23 PM

Is something in our environment co-related?? Back when I was a child, people used a lot of DDT to spray for insect pests and such......they sprayed crops, animals, you name it.....my gramps did it. We found out that it was a very dangerous thing.........it does not disentegrate.......it lives forever in the soil and in water supplies that are in the areas where DDT was sprayed. I doubt the corelation between vaccines and all these problems that we have now.......not saying they absolutely are not to blame, but I think there are more environmental things that are related or co related to many of these conditions. Maybe the scientistscould look for more causitive facts??

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2 replies
txholdemsdarlin PAT DEEL March 27 2014 at 1:47 PM

Humm GMO corn it is in everything.

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yak2664 PAT DEEL March 27 2014 at 2:11 PM

From Teflon coatings to high fructose corn syrup to use of plastics in packaging everything under the sun...there are any number of things that have gone into common use that could be causes...only a lot of research will get to the bottom of this. I hope it happens soon.

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Bobbi Ann March 27 2014 at 5:31 PM

Autism for my daughter began when I was in the first month of my pregnancy , in which I came down the the Hong Kong flu and ran a temperature of 105 degrees for 72 hours. These was not determined until she was 21 years old. She has a negative "fragile X Chromosome", which the true marker for Autism. It is not vaccinations at all.

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c17441 March 27 2014 at 4:11 PM

To those posting here that "reliable studies that prove vaccinations are a major cause" of autism, please cite the specific studies you are referencing.

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1 reply
ktz1017 c17441 March 27 2014 at 5:26 PM

Exactly. There aren't any.

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cgssnavickas March 27 2014 at 2:12 PM

Autism seems to be on the rise. Whether it's environmental or genetic remains to be seen. My guess is that 15-20 years ago it was misdiagnosed as a mental disorder.

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1 reply
amosdoyle cgssnavickas March 27 2014 at 6:39 PM

At least you admit you are guessing!

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iapanther March 27 2014 at 5:30 PM

Since none of us know the cause of autism nor the cause of the recent increase in autism, all this speculation on potential causes is GOOD. We should not rule out anything until good scientific analysis tells us otherwise. However, we should be able to compare large populations of people who do not have ultrasounds, or fluoride, or halide, or even vaccines and compare the ratios. I believe someday we will find it to be a manmade environmental issue, but let's face it, we have made 1,000s of uncommon things common in today's environment...just think of cell phone usage in the last 10 years, or plastic food containers, or preservatives, or growth hormone foods, or any of thousands of other things that travel via airborne or airwaves or in our food and drinks. I say find the lowest occurence populations and begin with what they DON'T have and work our way back. I hope for our kids sake and their parents we find the cause and the cure.

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1 reply
jybingdownwind iapanther March 28 2014 at 12:04 AM

They've done that study in Denmark, where they have a large pool of subjects because they have entirely socialized medicine.

The result?

Alumimum doesn't cause autism
Vaccine doesn't cause autism
Mothers vaccinations don't cause autism
Preservatives don't cause autism

Ultrasoumds don't cause autism.

The likely culprit? Poor development IN THE WOMB. May be at least partially genetically driven.

There's no one to blame. A lot of things can go wrong in pregnancy, and autism is one of them.

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1 reply
Cathy jybingdownwind March 28 2014 at 7:26 AM

Thank you for bringing common sense to this discussion, My husband is both a general psychiatrist and a child and adolescent psychiatrist who treats autism and ADHD in children and adults. Everything you've said is absolutely true. Yet we get calls from parents who refuse to bring their children to be evaluated and treated unless we agree to help them sue the vaccine manufacturer. We also get calls from parents who insist that their child is NOT autistic and will only book an appointment if we agree up front, sight unseen. to prove that. It is so sad, as those children are not getting the help they need. Re: ADHD.. hte apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I can't tell you how many parents, filling out a screening exam that asks about certain behaviors in their children, say "Wow, this is ME." bWe treat more parents of children with ADHD who were dx'd after their children presented with it, siblings with ADHD, and other related (by blood family members) than people with no family history. The genetic component there is almost 100%.

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Andie March 27 2014 at 1:58 PM

Wow 1 in 50. 18 yrs ago when my child was diagnosed it was 1 in 160. I never believed the vaccine excuse. She had autism BEFORE she was born. She was diagnosed at 20 months. I was told it was caused from a "chromosomal abnormality" and I believe it. My concern now is not blame. It's to get her through her life as full as it can be.

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1 reply
amosdoyle Andie March 27 2014 at 6:44 PM

And did they explain to you what the 'chromosomal abnormality" was?
Don't you think you deserve to know? Maybe it would help others to diagnose their child if they knew just what the chromosomal abnormality was that causes autism.

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