News Stories

PROOF Genes May Be Autism Trigger

Autism is believed to be a disease that is triggered when genetically susceptible children are exposed to an unknown toxin. This was originally thought to be the mercury in thimerisol vaccine preservatives, but autism rates have continued to rise, even though thimerisol and mercury have been largely phased out as vaccine preservatives. Now evidence has appeared that autism might have a stronger genetic component than previously believed.

This is because the mothers of two children in New York, both of whom have autistic children, turn out to have had the same sperm donor. While sperm banks will not reveal the identity of donors, there is a website called Donor Sibling Registry which can arrange meetings between offspring of the same donors.

When Gwenyth Jackaway, the mother of an autistic child sired by "Donor X" managed to meet Theresa Pergola, who had the same donor, they were shocked to discover that both of their children exhibited the same symptoms. Like Dylan Jackaway, Joseph Pergola proved to be autistic.

Donor X's sperm has been removed from the sperm bank, and the advocacy group Autism Speaks is now hoping to identify the genes that raise the risk of autism.

To go to the Autism Speaks homepage, click here.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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