No single cause of autism, research review concludes
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Many factors of a child's birth and the condition of the newborn are linked to the future development of autism, but no single factor has been identified as the cause, a of forty previously published research studies concludes.
Autism refers to a cluster of neurological developmental disorders, ranging to mild and severe, that interfere the child's ability to adjust normally, including defects in normal communication and social interaction.
The systematic review, published in Monday's issue of, presented the results of a of over sixty and risk factors associated with autism reported in the forty published studies. It identified sixteen that were significantly associated with autism. These included , , fetal distress during labor, "poor condition" of the newborn along with a low , , to the baby, and of the mother during childbirth.
However, the review found that often these factors are linked; not occurring independently but in combination, making the effect of any one factor difficult to determine. Further, the conclusions of the studies often were in conflict with each other regarding the relationship of any single one of the factors to autism. The researcher concluded there was "insufficient evidence to implicate any one perinatal or neonatal factor in autism etiology." However, they said some evidence suggested the presence of "multiple neonatal complications may increase autism risk."
|[M]ultiple neonatal complications may increase autism risk.|
The review also ruled out some factors, finding some were not linked to autism such as the use during childbirth of, or . High birth weight and large head circumference of the newborn were also discounted.
The researcher who headed the study, Hannah Gardener, who was at theat the time and is now at the , emphasized in an interview that parents should not worry if any one of the factors was present at the time of their child's birth.
|There is no single strong cause of autism.|
—Hannah Gardener, researcher
She said, "There is no single strong cause of autism."
have concluded that there is a to autism and Gardener emphasized the importance of the review's conclusions that point to the need for continuing study of how factors surrounding birth may interact with genetic factors to result in future autism in a child.
- "Risk factors for autism remain elusive: study" — , July 11, 2011
- Charles Bankhead. "Search for Autism Cause Yields Many Suspects" — , July, 11, 2011
- Barbara Goodman. "Birth Complications Linked to Autism" — , July, 11, 2011
- ABC New Radio. "Fetal and Birth-Related Complications May Be Linked to Autism" — , July, 11, 2011