Revolutionary Findings: Genetic and Environmental Factors are Equally Important Risk Factors

Nadia Shanab | autism
21 May 2014

This is one of the largest and comprehensive studies/researches done on individuals (2 million) with ASD. Everyday researchers are getting closer to identify the causes of autism. So far, we have been saying that the major causes of autism are genetic factors, environmental factors, or a combination of both.

The recent research (published May 4, 2014) done in Kings College in London, not only confirmed the above claims, but it also showed that the genetic and environmental factors are equally responsible for autism.

The second important finding in this research provides measures of individual risk for children who have a relative with autism. Siblings of a brother or a sister with autism are 10 times more likely to develop autism, while half a brother or a sister is 3 times more likely to develop autism, and a cousin is only 2 times more likely to develop autism.

In addition, there is no relative risk between genders.

Research was based on data from the Swedish health registers of 2 million child born between 1982 and 2006 to link autism to hereditability. In the past it was thought/believed that genetic factors are the main cause of autism, 80%-90%. With this recent research the heriditability factor drops to 50% while the other 50% is referred to the environmental or non-herieditable factors.

The evironmental factors are divided into 2 categories:

a- factors shared between family members

b- unshared factors, like individual factors (birth complications, maternal infections, medications before and during pregnancy…)

Research should now be focused on genes as well as on environmental factors in order to find the causes of autism.

Dr. Sven Sandin, author of the study from King’s College London and Karolinska, says: “Our study was prompted by a very basic question wich parents often ask: ‘if I have a child with autism, what is the risk my next child will too?'” As mentioned above it is believed that the genetically closer the relationship the higher the risk.

Professor Avi Reichenberg is the author of the study from Mount Sinai Seaver Center for Autism Research. Dr. Sven Sandin, author of the study from King’s College London.

Story Source: King’s College London.

Read the full article here.

nadia shanab

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