Dr. New Doctor's Name Blogs from 2012
Autism Risk on the Rise and now Linked to Gene Mutations
Using data from 2008, the CDC reports that the risk for autism spectrum disorder, which includes Aspergers Syndrome, affecting a child at 8 years of age in the US has risen to 1:88. For boys it is 1:54 and for girls it is 1:252. The risk vaies widely by state. Unfortunately, 40% of these children were not identified until after 4 years of age.
Researchers at the University of Washington, Yale and Harvard have identified several gene mutations that will result in autism almost 100% of the time. This is painstakingly slow research but will result in the discovery of 10-20 additional genes over the next year or two. They report that there are likely several hundred of these genes affecting autism risk.
They consider that 15-20% of cases of autism could be linked to genetic mutations. These mutations occur at or near the time of conception and are significantly more common when the father is over 35 years of age.
This was reported in the highly regarded scientific journal, Nature.