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Autism gene mutations increase risk of developing

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neuro-developmental condition that affects the development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication. ASD is the new umbrella medical term used to describe individuals who are affected by the classic autism disorder, aspersers syndrome and PDD-NOS. People with ASD have difficulties in areas of communication and forming relationships with people, in developing language and in using abstract concepts.  It is a condition that also impacts on their ability to make sense of the world around them.                 (Autism Ireland, 2017)CausesThe cause of autism is still unknown and being investigated, however, scientific research has indicated that there is no singular cause of autism, but that it is likely to be a predetermined disorder that stems and develops from a combination of different factors involving genetics, environmental triggers and psychological issues. Genetic Factors (Nature)• Certain and multiple gene mutations increase risk of developing ASD • Specific genes inherited from parents may increase vulnerability• It is known to run in families • Common that identical twins will have the same condition• Boys are 5 times more likely to be affected• Links to Fragile X Syndrome and Rett Syndrome As yet, no individual ‘autism gene’ exists. This is because no specific gene is consistently affected or mutated in every person with ASD. It is believed that changes or mutations in the DNA of multiple genes are what initially leads to autism, alongside environmental factors, with genetics being the largest contributor of ASD. Research has shown that strong genetic components play a fundamental part in the cause of autism when it discovered that in cases of identical twins, where one has ASD, the likelihood of the other twin having ASD increases significantly, 80%, whereas non-identical twins, 5-10% and non-twin siblings, 2-8%. This confirms that ASD is highly hereditary and has strong genetic links.As ASD affects almost 5 times more boys than girls, the male chromosomes have been thoroughly investigated yet scientific studies have found no definitive indication as to why this condition is more common in boys. Medical studies have also discovered that brain scans of an autistic brain versus a non-autistic brain show differences in both brain size and structure. It has also been accepted that vaccines do not cause autism. (Spectrum News, 2017)

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