Causes of Autism

There is no known single cause for autism
spectrum disorder, but it is generally accepted
that it is caused by abnormalities in brain
structure or function. Brain scans show
differences in the shape and structure of the brain
in children with autism compared to in
neurotypical children. Researchers do not know
the exact cause of autism but are investigating a
number of theories, including the links among
heredity, genetics and medical problems.
In many families, there appears to be a pattern of
autism or related disabilities , further supporting
the theory that the disorder has a genetic basis.
While no one gene has been identified as causing
autism, researchers are searching for irregular
segments of genetic code that children with
autism may have inherited. It also appears that
some children are born with a susceptibility to
autism, but researchers have not yet identified a
single “trigger” that causes autism to develop.
Other researchers are investigating the possibility
that under certain conditions, a cluster of
unstable genes may interfere with brain
development, resulting in autism. Still other
researchers are investigating problems during
pregnancy or delivery as well as environmental
factors such as viral infections, metabolic
imbalances and exposure to chemicals.

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