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  • Causes

    There are a few different definitions of autism, but I personally like how Google Health defines it. “Autism is a physical condition linked to abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain.” (Google Health)

    What exactly causes the abnormalities are yet to be discovered. Even I myself know many of the chain of events that caused my daughter’s autism, but still do not know what exactly made her susceptible to Autism in the first place.

    It’s widely accepted that autism is caused by a combination of factors; many of which are already discovered and some that are still looming over our children. This is why continued research is so very important to finding a cure to autism, instead of treating just the symptoms.

    A number of possible causes have been suspected, but not all have been proven and include:

       • Genetic factors
       • Mercury poisoning
       • Certain vaccine ingredients like thimerosal (50% mercury)
       • Vaccine sensitivity
       • Immune Deficiency
       • Digestive tract changes
       • Poor diet or allergen foods
       • Allergies to certain proteins like wheat gluten and casein (which is in milk)
       • Other food allergies like soy and high fructose corn syrup
       • The body’s inability to properly use vitamins and minerals
       • Lack of proper sunlight (See vitamin D)
       • Vitamin D deficiency and other lacking vitamins
       • Nutrient and mineral deficiencies perhaps caused from food allergies
       • Certain medications given in high frequency or high doses
       • Untreated Lyme disease passed from a parent or directly from a tick bite
       • Brain swelling from food allergies or Lyme
       • Brain swelling and flat spots on head causing compression
       • Untreated phenylketonuria or PKU
       • Congenital infections (rubella, cytomegalovirus or CMV, toxoplasmosis)
       • Birth delivery procedures (Pitocin to Mother for inducement, HepB vaccine to child at birth)
       • Environmental influences over the fetus during pregnancy like the flu shot, fish, heartburn medications, etc.
       • Fluoride
       • And other unknown causes

    Emotional trauma was an early belief by some that emotional trauma at an early age, especially bad parenting, was to blame. This theory has many times been rejected.

    Breast feeding has also been suspected as a cause but dismissed with formula fed babies also getting autism. However, some children are allergic to breast milk, while others may be allergic to formula or both. We found with our own child, milk and soy formulas caused her digestive problems with constant throwing up, constipation, and diarrhea. Read our story about what factors cause autism in our daughter.

    A lot of research suggests that genetic factors may cause autism. Today, identical twins are very likely to have autism together while it’s less likely for siblings to have it. With that said, the risk of siblings getting autism after the first is still high.

    Neurological problems seem to also be common in families affected by autism. However, because the rate of autism in total is now 1 and every 91 children, this increase also suggests other environmental factors outside of the genetic code.

    The increasing rate actually resembles an epidemic like the flu (though the flu is not a suspect of autism). In Michigan alone, about 0.4 percent of the population gets the flu every year. That’s less than 1% which is the new rate of autism. So twice as many people will get autism than the flu. And for some reason, the media wont sound off any alarms about autism like they do with the H1N1 swine flu which itself infects far less people than the seasonal flu does and is a very mild form of the flu to a healthy individual.

    The CDC states that there are over 560,000 reported cases of Autism Spectrum Disorder in people under the age of 21, with an unknown additional number in adults as well. That’s more than Cancer and AIDS combined. Every day, 73 new cases are reported to the CDC.

    Boys are more affected than girls with the rate being between 4-7 times over girls. (CDC) Some researchers suggest that the higher testosterone levels may play a role in the higher rate over girls by it causing some type of interaction to an unknown factor.

    It’s also believed that certain vaccinations containing thimerosal (50% ethylmercury) injected in children can cause autism. In 1980 the vaccine schedule included only 10 shots by age 12, while today it includes more than 36 with new vaccinations like the h1n1 vaccination being added. (CDC). The question comes up very often as parents sometimes watch their children regress in between ages 15-18 months, which is also the time when several vaccinations may be given at once. Our daughter had 7 shots in one visit while her body was already fighting ear infections and unknown food allergies at the time.

    Because the MMR shot was first to blame several years ago, there’s still a lot of focus on this vaccination, even after the removal of mercury from this vaccine years ago and after extensive testing proved otherwise. However, some of the tests remain inconclusive due to the fact that the thimerosal was removed from the vaccination while the 10 year studies were still being conducted. (CDC)

    Today, there are still several vaccinations that contain trace amounts of mercury in them. Some of them may include the flu shot, Hep A, Hep B, Dtap, HIB, and others. Many of the vaccines that contain mercury are the ones stored in multi-dose vials. The mercury acts as a preservative, giving it a longer shelf life, thus eliminating the need for single dose vials–which are more expensive. All vaccinations have a mercury free version and are supposed to be available upon request.

    Additionally, it’s a Federal Law for health care professionals to offer Vaccine Information Statements or VISs to the parent or guardian of the patient BEFORE administering the vaccination. If you get it afterwards or not at all, then that doctor broke the law and put your child at risk. See: CDC Vaccine Information Statements.

    It’s believed by some that vaccinations may not always be a only factor that causes autism, but certainly one to be considered as a factor of many. Read What caused my child’s autism.

    The VISs offer important information about the risks of each vaccine as given. For example, the common flu shot by injection should never be given to anyone under 6 months of age and you must be at least age 2 and not over 50, nor have an allergy to eggs for the h1n1 (swine) flu shot. Each shot has it’s own risks. Read the VIS before getting it for yourself or giving it to your child. Read them online now.

    Remember, you’re the one in charge, not the Doctors. And suing anyone for vaccine injury is nearly impossible. Yet more importantly, vaccine injuries can cause life long complications. Vaccinations are important, just read the warnings first. Giving a vaccine to a child who is also fighting off an infection, or one who has an immune deficiency can sometimes cause serious problems. Contrary to popular belief of “Hurry up and vaccinate just in case”, it may actually be better to wait until the child is healthy enough to receive the shot if they are sick.

    Some people think that the “Spectrum” is too broad. Children with slight developmental issues and speech delays are now often included in the Spectrum. This may also be contributing to the increase in autism rates.

    A perfect example is the h1n1 flu once again. The swine flu was first discovered in 1930 and then forgotten about until 1976 again. H1N1 vaccines injured or killed over 4,000 people then. So again, it was forgotten about until the big scare of 2009. Now it’s looked at very closely and stats for the swine flu may indicate a huge spike in 2009 as the media pumped it up.

    As autism gets more attention with the mainstream, so do the causes and diagnosis of it.

    Other similar developmental disorders include:

       • Asperger syndrome (like autism, but with normal language development)

       • Rett syndrome (very different from autism, and only occurs in females)

       • Childhood disintegrative disorder (rare condition where a child learns skills, then loses them by age 10)

       • Pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), also called atypical autism.
    (Google Health)

    See also:
    Autism Symptoms
    Treatments for Autism
    Preventing Autism

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