Autism results from an interplay between genetics and the environment, but it has been tough to nail down the environmental factors involved.
From parental age to infection during pregnancy, environmental elements can influence autism risk.
Rats exposed prenatally to a cocktail of ‘autoimmune’ molecules have altered levels of two types of compounds needed for brain development.
A specially made ‘decoy’ protein prevents an immune molecule from crossing the placenta; the strategy may prevent the brain changes that lead to autism.
Autism is more heritable than anorexia, alcohol dependence, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, according to an analysis of data from nearly 4.5 million people.
Traits linked to autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder tend to co-occur even in adulthood.
Watch the complete replay of Janine LaSalle discussing gene-environment interactions and autism.
Taking antidepressants during pregnancy is unlikely to raise the risk of having a child with autism.
Watch the complete replay of Judy Van de Water discussing the maternal immune system and autism.