Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex range of neurodevelopment disorders characterized by communication difficulties with restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior. The hallmark of this disorder is impaired social interaction.
And reports have claimed that autism isn’t just frustrating for parents. It’s frustrating for scientists too!
So, how is autism hereditary?
Clearly speaking, autism runs in the blood. For instance, younger siblings of children with autism have an increased risk of developing the condition to themselves. It is also expected for an identical twins that carries the same genes to both develop autism than the fraternal ones.
According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, which they used monozygotic twins and dizygotic twins in there study, they found out that if one identical twin has autism, the other twin has a 76 percent chance of also being diagnosed with it. The numbers were lower for fraternal twins.
At last, the researchers found what they are looking for: the DNA that autistic children has, that differs with their parents.
Around 10% of the autistic kids in the families with one autistic child had big DNA changes compared to their parents. And most of these were big chunks of missing DNA.
These results tell us that one way to end up with autism is when big chunks of DNA go missing. Or get duplicated.
And since, autism spectrum disorder describes a range of conditions and behaviors rather than a single disease.
Therefore, unlike Alzheimer’s disease, knowing what causes autism or how it runs in the family, is quite a research to conduct.
If so, we may come up with useful treatments by then. Or at the very least with useful tests so we can catch the disease early and start the treatment for these kids as soon as possible.
lifehack, cdc.gov, autism.kennedykrieger, scientificamerican, nytimes, genengnews