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Do Doctors Know What Causes Autism?

Learn about the theories as to what causes autism from pediatrician and child development expert Asma J. Sadiq, M.D. in this Howcast video.


So what causes autism? This is a huge question on etiology and there's a lot of research happening. What we definitely do know is there is a genetic predisposition, although there isn't one particular gene that is responsible. It is a cascade of multiple, different genes that are involved where that single nucleotide polymorphisms which means, little slips or little alterations in the genes that are there and you know, you see it run down families and sometimes you can find what they call an autism phenotype where other family members can have issues like OCD or social phobia and schizophrenia etcetera but there also seems to be some environmental or possible triggers that have been looked at and we know of medical conditions where we have a dual diagnosis with autism like with Fragile X Syndrome or with Tuberous Sclerosis etcetera.

So there are definite medical conditions but the actual cause of autism is still being researched. There are many hypotheses and a lot of abnormalities that are often seen in children with the autism spectrum which is raising concerns. Children tend to have more GI, gastrointestinal problems; immune issues are being researched as well as mitochondria dysfunction which means at a cellular level there seem to be some differences that you are finding in kids with the autism spectrum, so it that causative, is that associated? There is a lot of information out there and a lot of new research being done but we don't have a single cause for it and I know parents want to know that, what caused this to happen to my child and I think this is driving the research forward.

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