Nels Wilkins, Jr.
Writing 101 / UM -Helena
Autism Spectrum Disorder: Cause and Effect
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a range of heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior. Autism is one of the most complex mental disorders present in our modern society. It is often seen as a mysterious disorder with unknown origins. However, in recent years, scientists have made extraordinary advances in their understanding of causes of autism. Experts tenaciously study numerous theories relating to genetics, heredity, environmental and history of medical problems to help narrow down the exact cause of this baffling and devastating disorder, which now is affecting approximately 1 in 50 children. Yet, remarkably little of this understanding has percolated into popular awareness, which often still remains fixated on vaccines.
While there have been widespread speculative theories over the years regarding possible causes, many scholars believe autism is a combination of genetic vulnerability that becomes triggered by some kind of social or toxic influence. “A new study suggests that, at least in mice, the most important factor causing autism is likely an individual's genes.”
“Many scientists are now suggesting that toxin and pollution exposure and certain medications taken by pregnant mothers could play a role in causing autism.”
“Over the past several years, autism diagnoses in children have greatly increased. Depending on who you ask, that increase suggests that autism has an environmental component or, as the Centers for Disease Control has said, doctors are just getting better at diagnosing the disorder.”
“A high-profile study published in 1998 in the journal Lancet suggested that childhood vaccines designed to protect against measles, mumps and rubella could be one cause of autism. Since then, the vaccine link has...