List of Contributing Causes of Autism

Autism_Puzzle_t670List of possible causes or contributing factors in the autism epidemic:

Genetics:
Autism in the family history raises the risk. A child with an autistic sibling has an 18% risk of becoming autistic him/herself.
One genetic condition predisposing a child to austism is mitochondrial dysfunction. Julie Gerberding. former head of the CDC, admitted this on nation-wide television and admitted that vaccines, by stressing the immune system of a child with this condition, could trigger autism.

The MTHFR mutation, which inhibits the body’s detoxifying process known as methylation, is also implicated in autism. This is connected to other environmental causes, however, as the ability to methylate can be impaired by exposure to heavy metals. About 25% of the North American population have the MTHFR mutation. You can learn more at www.MTHFR.net
and please read this mother’s blog post about her experience with MTHFR contributing to her daughter’s autism. autismroadtorecovery.blogspot.ca/2012/09/mthfr-mother-fer-gene.html

Others include:
CBS Mutations. These alter the body’s process of detoxification. “CBS (cystathionine beta synthase) catalyzes the first step of the transsulfuration pathway, from homocysteine to cystathionine. Dr. Yasko considers addressing CBS mutations as first priority aside from addressing the gut. CBS defects are actually upregulations.”
SHMT and/or ACAT mutations. Please see this link to Dr Amy Yasko’s website for help addressing these mutations.
PTEN gene, which is associated with autism and some types of cancer and is present in about 10% of ASD kids.
SHANK3 Mutation, which affects neurological development and is associated with autism.
Mutations in neuroligin genes. Little is known about this and whether it is a contributing cause in ASD.

Genetic Conditions that can have ASD symptoms or be misdiagnosed as ASD include:
Noonan Syndrome
Landau-Kleffner Syndrome

IVF with ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection)
Children conceived by IVF with ICSI may have a higher risk of autism. IVF is known to raise the risks of birth defects, rare genetic abnormalities, and childhood cancers. The results for IVF and ICSI in relation to autism risk are inconclusive and even though there is some corelation, it maybe be due to other variables.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/why-children-born-by-ivf-may-be-more-at-risk-of-autism-and-childhood-cancers-422353.html

http://getbetterhealth.com/is-autism-caused-by-fertility-treatment/2010.06.01

Fertility Drugs:
It has been found that children who were conceived with Clomid (Clomiphene citrate) have nearly double the risk of autism and the greater the number of cycles, the higher the risk. The link between the two is not clear, though, as other variables may account for it.

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1990567,00.html

Could it be possible that Clomid and Pergonal (human menopausal gonadotropin) contribute to austism because they suppress cholesterol, which the embryo needs for brain myelination?

http://www.drugs.com/answers/has-anyone-considered-low-cholesterol-as-being-315528.html

Ultrasounds During Pregnancy:
In 2006, a study led by Dr Pasco Rakic at Yale on mice found that prenatal exposure to ultrasound waves changed the way neurons distributed themselves in the brain: a smaller percentage of cells migrated to the upper cortical layers and a larger percentage to the lower layers and white matter. This was interpreted by another neuroscientist, Manuel Casanova, to confirm that ultrasound exposure is the main environmental factor contributing to the exponential rise in autism. This study was only looking at mouse brains and didn’t take anything else into account. Personally, I don’t believe it is the main cause, because autistic children have been shown to have many medical issues related to the gut and other things, and addressing these underlying problems has been shown to improve symptoms and even lead to recovery to the point that many children lose their labels and become much like neurotypical children. If it were just a difference in brain development, they shouldn’t be able to ‘recover’ with biomedical treatments.and

Maternal Infections/Elevated C-reactive Protein During Pregnancy
It has been known for some time that infections like flu in a pregnant woman raise her child’s risk of autism. More recently, it has been discovered that it is not the infection itself, but the mother’s immune system’s reaction to it, that causes changes in brain development which seem to raise the risk of not only autism but also schizophrenia. Neuroscientist Dr Russell Blaylock has warned for a long time that it is known that stimulating a pregnant woman’s immune system raises these risks for her child, and says that vaccines such as flu shots may carry the same risk because they also stimulate the mother’s immune system.
A study has now shown C-Reactive Protein to be a biomarker for this process and has demonstrated the link between raised levels of CRP in the mother and increased risk of autism in her offspring.
“Autism risk increased by 80 percent among children of mothers with CRP in the top 10th percentile (higher than 90 percent of those tested).
The findings add to mounting evidence that an overactive immune response can alter brain development during pregnancy. However, Dr. Brown emphasizes that the vast majority of mothers with increased CRP levels will not have children with autism.”

autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/prenatal-inflammation-linked-autism-risk

Terbutaline
This drug, which is used to halt preterm labor is known to cause brain damage and is associated with autism. This article is wrong about there being no corroborating studies linking MMR to autism, but they have a lot of good information on Terbutaline.
autisticfraternaltwins.oddodesign.com/articles/terbutaline-unrelated-to-mmr-vaccinations/
Here is a scientific study showing that Terbutaline exposure for more than two days in the third trimester raises the risk of ASD fourfold:
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21874331

If you think your child has been injured by Terbutaline, here is a lawyer who specializes in lawsuits concerning this matter
discepolollp.com/about_us.html

Pitocin
Pitocin is an artificial version of the hormone oxytocin and is used to induce or speed up labor. It appears to be that there is a connection between the use of Pitocin and later autism diagnosis. Since all women who receive Pitocin also receive a variety of other drugs and medical interventions during labor, it is not known whether Pitocin itself is a causative agent in autism or is only indirectly related. The following article states that in an informal survey of midwives, it was reported that no babies birthed at home were later diagnosed with ASD. Perhaps medicalized births in general are a causative factor.
autismtoday.com/articles/ATTN_Researchers.htm

Formula Feeding
One study showed that babies fed formula-fed without ARA and DHA were 4 times as likely to be autistic and 13 times more likely to have regressive autism than breastfed babies. Early weaning (under 1 week) was also associated with a higher rate of autism. Although there was a correlation, this does not prove that formula feeding caused the austism. However, because formula feeding is known to undermine the establishment of healthy gut flora, it is possible that there is a direct cause-and-effect relationship, as unbalanced gut flora is known to be part of the autistic condition.

BPA/Bisphenol-A This chemical is found in plastics, including can liners (such as baby formula cans) and baby bottles (although BPA has now been banned from baby bottles in Canada) Exposure to BPA has been found to alter genetics and brain development and to raise the risk of autism.
cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57571171/bpa-exposure-linked-to-genetic-changes-that-alter-brain-development

Vaccinations
Most people have by now heard that many believe there is a link between vaccinations and autism. Many parent shave reported that their children regressed abruptly following vaccinations, in particular the MMR shot. However, there are cases of unvaccinated autistic children as well, and most children who receive vaccinations do not become autistic. One of the most famous (and infamous) figures in the vaccine-autism connection debate is Dr Andrew Wakefield who found a link between persistent measles infection in the gut and a condition he named autistic entero-colitis. He was subjected to what basically amounts to a witch hunt for doing this and this had a lot to do with Merck, the makers of MMR-II, threatening to withdraw funding form the Royal Free Hospital in London, where Wakefield had done his study, unless the study authors would recant or be subjected to disciplinary actions. Dr Wakefiled, however, stands by his findings and 28 other studies have also found a link between MMR and autism and you can see links to them here.

While the media continues to push vaccine propaganda and deny a link between immunizations and autism, US and European vaccine courts have admitted the connection by default. This Pace Environmental Law Review article documents 83 cases of American children being awarded damages for ‘autism-like symptoms’ and you can download it here
Hannah Polling became autistic after receiving 9 immunizations in one day and was awarded $1.5 in damages for vaccine-induced autism. Her case records were the sealed. What are they hiding?
There was a similar case in Italy as well. ‘Judges in Rimini, north-east Italy awarded the Bocca family Euros 174,000 (£140,000) after the Italian Health Ministry conceded the MMR vaccine caused autism in their nine-year-old son Valentino. ‘
Studies have shown that vaccinated, but not unvaccinated dogs develop auto-immune disease.
A recent Polish meta-analysis showed that vaccines can trigger auto-immunity in children and that this is related to autism.
Here is a link to a list of 68 studies that show the connection between vaccines and autism.

Antibiotics and Abnormal Gut Flora:
Many parents and doctors who specialize in autism believe there is a connection between antibiotics use and autism and some parents have witnessed their children regress or deteriorate following treatment with antibiotics. One study examined the possibility of a connection via antibiotics ability to alter genetics.
It is also possible that the connection is due to antibiotics ability to alter gut flora. Gut dysbiosis (abnormal flora) is known to be present in nearly all autistic children. Probiotics tend to improve symptoms and some even claim that a diet that restores the gut can reverse autism.
Gut flora is inherited from the mother. If the mother has been exposed to antibiotics before or during pregnancy or during labor, this can compromise the baby’s flora.
It is possibly to test for dysbiosis before vaccinating, to see whether your child may be susceptible to vaccine damage due to pre-existing gut flora problems.

Heavy Metals Toxicity:
“Evidence supports the role of heavy metals in causing autism, PDD and ADHD. These children often have biochemical impairments that put them at greater risk for damage caused by heavy metal accumulation.” This is related to imparied glutathione production. From what I have read, many parents have found their autistic children improved with metals chelation and glutathione supplements. Environmental sources of heavy metals in infancy include maternal amalgam fillings, fish consumption, vaccinations, lead in toys or paint, living near industrial sources of mercury such as power plants, and others.

http://treatautism.ca/detoxification/heavy-metals/

Industrial and other sources of environmental mercury exposure:

http://www.who.int/ipcs/features/mercury.pdf

Results of studies that assess metals burden in autistic children are mixed:
One famous study by Hornig et al showed that some types of mice developed autism-like symptoms after being exposed to mercury-containing Thimerosal equivalent to what babies receive in their vaccines. ““Profound behavioral and neuropathologic disturbances were observed after postnatal thimerosal in SJL/J mice, but not in strains without autoimmune sensitivity.” -Horning’s conclusions. You can read more about the resemblance between mercury poisoning and autism symptoms and related studies here
The IOM quickly concluded, however, that this research was inconclusive and that there was no proven connection.

One study showed higher concentrations of lead, mercury, and uranium in the hair of autistic children, compared to controls
Another study showed unremarkable levels of metals in the urine of autistic children on chelation challege:
(This was a small sample and they were looking at general metals levels in autistic children, not comparing risk of autism in children exposed to higher sources of metals.)

Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
Acetaminophen has been causally related to asthma and may possibly be implicated in autism as well. By depleting glutathione, Acetaminophen inhibits the body’s ability to detoxify via sulfation. Dr Shaw believes this leads to overgrowth of clostridia in the gut, which causes alterations in brain neurotransmitters (the gut-brain connection has been well established), which then leads to abnormal behavior. You can read more about this here:
ventography.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/update-from-dr-shaw-acetaminophen-and-autism-connection/

Anesthesia
Some parents in the autism community have reported their completely unvaccinated, neurotypical kids becoming autistic after receiving anesthesia. Research shows receiving anesthesia at age 3 or younger can double the risk of developmental disorders.
“A total of 304 children with no history of developmental problems had surgery for a variety of reasons before the age of three, while the remaining 10,146 children did not have surgery.
Findings showed 25 percent of children who had surgery were subsequently diagnosed with developmental and behavioral disorders, compared with just 9 percent of children who did not have surgery.
After taking into account pre-existing illnesses, birth complications and sex, the researchers concluded surgery at an early age doubles the risk of children having developmental disorders. The researchers also concluded that children exposed to anesthetics are more likely to have developmental delays.”

sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101018163301.htm

Low Cholesterol:
58% of autistic children have low cholesterol, and in 19% it is very low. Low cholesterol can impair brain function and cause autism symptoms.

http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/mediaroom/releases/Pages/Ohio-State-Studying-How-Cholesterol-Levels-Affect-Autism.aspx

Cholesterol supplements reverse many autism symptoms in Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS).

http://www.greatplainslaboratory.com/home/eng/cholesterol.asp

Because of these connections, cholesterol supplements are being considered as a possible treatment for autism symptoms.

http://www.generationrescue.org/latest-news/resources/the-role-of-cholesterol-in-autistic-behaviors/

7-Glyphosate (Roundup), the herbicide used on GMO crops:
This agent inhibits cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, which serves to detoxify xenobiotics (such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides).
“Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body. Here, we show how interference with CYP enzymes acts synergistically with disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids by gut bacteria, as well as impairment in serum sulfate transport.”
The authors of this study believe this to be cause of many conditions including autism. Gut dysbiosis, inflammatory conditions and impaired ability to detoxify, are known to be common in autistic children.

http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4/1416

http://ecowatch.com/2013/study-links-monsantos-roundup-autism-parkinsons-alzheimers/

GMOs:
As you just read above, there seems to be a link established between Roundup (glyphosate) and inflammatory and neurological conditions, of which autism is one. GMO crops are engineered to withstand Roundup, so they end up being sprayed with and containing large quantities of this pesticide. In addition, some GMO crops such as certain varieties of corn, are engineered to contain a built-in pesticide called Bacillu Thuringiensis (Bt). Once in the digestive tract, this has been shown to alter gut flora. Gut dysbiosis (altered gut flora) is known to be a major contributing factor to autism, as evidenced by its strong prevalence in autistic children and by the fact that restoring the gut flora improves autism symptoms. Read more on GMOs and autism here:
responsibletechnology.org/autism

Food Intolerances
Regular allergy tests only check for the kind of frank allergies that result in physically visible symptoms like hives or anaphylactic schock, but many kids on the spectrum have food intolerances that mainly affect brain chemistry. Some of the most reactive foods include wheat/gluten, dairy, soy, and eggs and many kids improve when these are restricted. These food sensitivities are associated with abnormal gut flora and a ‘leaky gut’ that allows peptides, partial protein molecules, through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream, where they make their way to the brain and act as opiate-like substances. There is also a condition called non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which has many of the symptoms of celiac disease but does not show up on celiac tests. Please read this woman’s story of how she recovered her daughter from behavior that is common to ASD kids, just by removing gluten from her diet (note: I’m not implying that GF is a cure for autism, only that intolerance should be considered as a possible contributing factor to behavioral problems)
anchoragepress.com/news/the-gluten-made-her-do-it-how-going-gluten-free/article_39e2478e-4585-11e2-a80c-0019bb2963f4.html

P.A.N.D.A.S./P.A.N.S.
No, I’m not talking about a bear. PANDAS stands for Pediatric Auoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Strep. PANS is Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Syndrome. As their names suggest, these are conditions which present with neurological and psychiatric symptoms and are caused by an autoimmune reaction to an infection with strep or another bacteria or virus, including strains of Lyme disease. These conditions can cause symptoms/behaviors of autism and high percentage of kid on the spectrum who also have PANDAS/PANS. There is so much overlap that it is likely that many kids diagnosed as autistic or PDD-NOS actually have underlying PANDAS/PANS/PITANDS. Please see this article on the connection between this condition, brain damage, autism and self-injurious behavior. vaxtruth.org/2012/01/is-pandas-really-vaccine-injury

Classic symptoms of PANDAS/PANS include abrupt onset of tics, OCD, and rages. This often follows an atypical strep infection that does not present with regular strep throat symptoms, but can be detected with a blood test. Some kids’ illness follows a saw-tooth pattern where symptoms flare up with infection, then decrease back to baseline, only flare again with the next re-exposure. Over time, the condition between flares (the baseline) deteriorates as well.
Prognosis is variable. Some kids improve with a course of antibiotics. Others require long-term antibiotics. In other cases, IV immune globulin or plasmapharesis is necessary. Some people find their kids respond to herbal treatments or homeopathics. Sadly, this condition is sometimes stubbornly resistant to treatment.
Many doctors are unfortunately not aware of this condition or are skeptical about whether it really exists, even though it is well-known to specialists and is on our government’s list of conditions for which treatment with IV immune globulin is approved in Canada.
For more about the connection between PANDAS/PANS and autism, see this article:
ageofautism.com/2011/11/autism-and-pandas-.html

As you see, there are many environmental and genetic factors that can contribute to causing autism. In the big picture, what we see is exposure to toxins, impaired detoxification, altered gut flora, auto-immune reactions and altered brain development and activity. Some of these can be remedied and some children improve or even recover with biomedical treatment.

5 responses to “List of Contributing Causes of Autism

  1. You have done a great service here, bringing all of this information together and sharing it! It seems like you have identified most of the “causes” pretty well, but perhaps you might benefit by my sharing some things you may not have realized, or put together, regarding the healing process…

    Also, when you’re dealing with a disorder that is disrupting life to the extent you are, you don’t do ONE terrific thing that makes it all better immediately. You do EVERYTHING, persevering regardless, in the way that makes the best sense for you.

    1) All of the various ailments that together make up ASD have one thing in common – there are Central Nervous System (CNS) lesions, and if one doesn’t have an immune system dysfunction causing THAT, then IT will create an immune system dysfunction. Much can be done by supplementation-
    a) Since the immune system mostly lives in (or is controlled by) the gut biota, supplementing both pro- and pre-biotics is EXTREMELY important. BROAD spectrum, megadose (100 billion CFU/day) therapy helps a LOT. This can begin (perhaps very quickly) to correct a lot of damage, whether by GMOs or whatever.
    b) And you are already aware, it seems, of the need for LOTS of Vitamin D (4000-10000 IU/day.)
    c) Magnesium is also very commonly deficient, and may be malabsorbed, so it should be supplemented in a very bioavailable form.
    d) Also, it’s important to avoid any NSAIDs, especially aspirin – they will damage the intestinal mucosa. Likewise, sugar, especially HFCS, should be avoided.

    FYI, there are a LOT of OTHER bodily conditions, both overtly neurological (e.g. MS, Parkinson’s, etc.) and otherwise, that respond very well to the same basic healing corrections, because that’s just how the human body functions, every time.

    2) Protecting and repairing the nervous system is perhaps the most important job that a body has. This is so, even when there’s another huge problem extant (like heart disease, etc.) because repairing THAT requires a properly functioning nervous system to coordinate the repair. When that is absent, you die – that’s just the nature of life. Lesser lacks of neurological coordination allow the continued functioning of essential systems on an “emergency backup” basis, but healing is very difficult when that is the case, if not impossible.

    3) Omega-3 fatty acids are VERY important in repairing CNS lesions, as well as preventing them. Both Omega-3s (EPA and DHA) are used inside the body, but they MUST be absorbed using the SAME enzymatic pathway, and they compete with each other for absorption, so dietary levels are not necessarily reflected metabolically. The solution to this is perhaps a bit counter-intuitive; just make sure you have sufficient EPA in the diet, and (as it turns out) the body can convert EPA to make as much DHA as it needs. Again, mega-doses are well advised.

    If you are interested, I can give you a good price on a really good 10:1 EPA:DHA supplement that I use. I’ve also seen one in a health food store that was EPA-only, but it cost a lot more.

    4) This may sound even more counter-intuitive, but the fact is that, since we ALWAYS depend on the innate healing powers of the body, controlled by the nervous system, every minute of every day, and chiropractic is focused on the healing of the nervous system, a good chiropractor is your best health care champion. They should be trained and practiced at neurological healing. Unfortunately, many chiropractors today have lost sight of this basic fact, so it seems very confusing to the average person who hasn’t met up with one who practices in this way. If you want a referral, let me know and I’ll try to help you find someone where you are.

  2. Pingback: | Word & Photo Blog

  3. The first cohort study has been published supporting acetaminophen as a causal factor in autism. Prolonged prenatal use was associated with severe neurodevelopmental outcomes (all autism phenotypes) in 3 year olds.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24163279

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