Autism Spectrum Disorders-Aetiopathogenesis SE01-SE05
Dr. Babu George,
Director, Child Development Centre, Thiruvananthapuram-695011, Kerala, India.
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are characterised by a range of clinical features that can vary from individual to individual in both degree of severity and variability of the clinical presentation. The aetiology or causation of ASD has been a widely debated issue for several decades; however, the exact cause of autism is still unknown. Research has suggested that ASD may be caused by genetic and/or environmental factors. Among those, children with low genetic susceptibility, some maternal and obstetric factors have an independent role in autism aetiology, whereas among genetically susceptible children, these factors appear to play a lesser role. It was observed that there is an increased risk of ASD due to: (i) advanced maternal age; (ii) advanced paternal age; (iii) duration of gestation; (iv) intrapartum hypoxia; and (v) birth weight. Recent evidence also suggests potential links of immune dysfunction, dietary, metabolic and gastrointestinal factors.