Autism found often in subsequent sibs

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In recent decades scientists have made amazing strides in understanding the genetics autism. Now a study reveals that these genetics affect future siblings much greater than originally thought.

“This is the largest study of the siblings of children with autism ever conducted. It’s important to recognize that these are estimates that are averaged across all of the families. So, for some families, the risk will be greater than 18%, and for other families it would e less than 18%. At the present time, unfortunately, we do not know how to estimate an individual family’s actual risk,” wrote Sally Ozonoff, professor psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the MIND Institute at the University of California-Davis, Sacramento, leader of the study.

The fact is, according to this study, chances are one in five that if a couple has a child diagnosed with autism, their next baby will also have autism. Chances are even higher if that next baby is a boy. The risk rises to one in four. In fact about a third of subsequent siblings diagnosed with autism are found to have an older sib with autism. There is clearly a genetic connection.

Researchers are now focusing their efforts on breakthroughs with the genetic code, on specific chromosomal regions that may contain autism related genes. These include chromosomes 2, 3, 7 and 15 as well as other chromosomes for which there is preliminary suggestive data.

Ozonoff added that “There is no previous study that identified a risk of recurrence that is this high.” For families who struggle with autism or levels of very severe autism, this kind of information really helps inform decisions they need to make.

Source: Medical New Today, University of California-Davis


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