Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Autism Largely Caused by Genetics, Not Environment: Study

The article, “Autism Largely Caused by Genetics, Not Environment: Study”, written by E.J. Mundell explains how autism mostly relies on genetics. This goes against the idea that the spectrum is based mostly on environmental factors. It has often been thought that vaccinations are a cause for autism. This has played a role in children not getting vaccinated for years. There has been mounting evidence, this article included, that this is not the case.
The article claims that autism affects one in every fifty-nine children in the United States. This number is a lot higher than I thought. Learning more about autism can help this whole group of individuals have a better understanding about what autism really is. It is also important to understand that maternal factors only play a role about one percent of the time. This number is so small, yet the big focus seems to be on maternal factors. The article discusses how the genetics factors are often very overlooked. 
In another article, “Autism Parent, Times Two: When More Than One Child in The Family Has ASD”, by Marina Sarris it discusses the likelihood of two siblings having autism. Because it is genetic, siblings have a much higher chance of having autism. Fraternal twins have an even higher chance. Data was collected in studies on families with more than one autistic child. It is extremely important to observe and look into those with twins. These are the most interesting cases because they have the same genes as well as environment. They even shared their mother’s womb. 
Overall, understanding how genetics plays a role in autism is very important. It will help educate people and encourage them to ignore the myth that vaccines cause autism. It will also eliminate any indication that autism is largely caused by maternal factors and bad parenting. However, I am not sure if genetics will help us to treat autism. I believe that it will help us find out how to manage and aid those affected, but it brings up a whole debate. If a mother knows her unborn child will have autism, is it right to get rid of the child or potentially alter genes? There is a huge stigma on autism already, but does having autism really make someone different in a bad way? 
Another interesting point that comes with these articles is the idea of how genetics and the environment work together. While the study says that genetics is responsible 80% of the time, there is still another 20%. It is important to give all the factors appropriate consideration. Genetics needs to be taken into account more, but we also need to remind ourselves that it is almost always both. Our environment and our genes go hand in hand with each other. 
Above is an image of the genetic network for autism. It shows how complicated genetics can be and how autism does not rely on just one single thing. 

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