What is Autism?
Autism was first defined in 1943 by Leo Kanner as the inability to create normal, determined, emotional contact with others. Other definitions surround this primacy of lack of social reciprocity. Over the years, there has been major improvements in the conceptualization of autism and related disorders.
Risk Factors for Autism
There has been a lot of awareness that has been created concerning autism due to the rising number of autism cases in the last decade, but most people are still in the dark when it comes to establishing what puts unborn babies at risk of developing this disorder. With 10-15% of all babies being born with one neurodevelopment disorder or the other, it is crucial for people to be knowledgeable on the avoidable and unavoidable risk factors.
Mycotoxins are mold byproducts that are mostly found in wine, grains, coffee and pork. Several studies have been able to positively link the presence of mycotoxins in these foods with autism. Mycotoxins are known to put males at a higher risk of developing theses disorder. Although there are numerous studies being conducted on the effects of mycotoxins on animals and human beings, the jury is still out on the long-term effects. This does not mean that mycotoxins are not a risk factor just that you need to be careful with foods that contain them.
There has been a new study that has shown that babies who are born through C-Section, rather than other traditional methods stand a higher chance of developing autism-related disorders. This study is important because 1 in 3 babies in the United States is born via C-Section. The reason for the increased risk is because the babies are born before their due date. It is therefore important for parents to pursue other methods of giving birth before settling on C-Section.
- Maternal Antibodies
This is an unfortunate risk factor since our own bodies produce these maternal antibodies which attach themselves to the baby’s proteins that are used for cognitive and neurological development therefore hindering the normal process of fetal development. Scientists are now working on ways of separating these antibodies and prevent them from causing autism.
- Placenta abnormalities
Studies have established a relationship between placentas that have an abnormal structure and children who have neurological disorders such as autism. It is therefore advisable to check the condition of the placenta at birth so as to predict whether the child will have any neurological disorder.
Tobacco smoking comes with a plethora of health issues and unfortunately, smoking while pregnant can lead to autism in children. Although a direct link has not yet been established between smoking and autism, women who smoke while pregnant stand a higher chance of birthing children suffering from Asperger’s (an autism spectrum disorder).
- Air Pollution
New evidence has come out suggesting that some particles in polluted air may increase the risk of autism. By reducing air pollution indoors and doing our part as the society to deal with outdoor pollution, we can contribute to an overall healthy society.
- Endocrine Disruptors
Endocrine disruptors affect chemicals that are crucial in the development of the thyroid and many experts believe that they are hormone related since males are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.
Thimerosals and aluminum found in vaccines have a causal relationship with autism. Vaccines have the power to save lives but we need to do more research so as to establish a clear relationship between ingredients in vaccines and neurological development.