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.
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Autism is mysterious, because we know that its cause is partly environmental and partly genetic, but it’s hard to pinpoint each part of the puzzle. Researchers have used the age when a child speaks his first word as a tool for identifying a new gene linked to autism. And the question of whether vaccines cause the condition just won’t go away.

Researchers have discovered that a gene that is most active in the brain regions involved with language and thought is also involved in this syndrome. Researcher Daniel Geschwind says, “This gene?may predispose children to autism.”
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The mercury-containing preservative thimerosal has been eliminated from most childhood vaccines, but autism cases have continued to increase, providing evidence that vaccines are not the cause. Fevers?especially high fevers?can damage the brain, but the behavior of children with autism may IMPROVE during a fever, giving researchers a clue to what’s going on with this mysterious condition, which is becoming an epidemic in the US.

A new study shows that autism cases have continued to increase in California after the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal was eliminated from most childhood vaccines. This suggests that exposure to thimerosal is not a primary cause of autism.
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Can autism be reversed? Scientists have done this in mice by manipulating genes?in the future, they may be able to help children this way as well.

BBC News reports that symptoms of mental retardation and autism have been reversed for the first time in laboratory mice that were genetically engineered to have a predilection for these problems.

US scientists created mice that showed symptoms of Fragile X Syndrome?the gene that makes humans susceptible to autism after exposure to heavy metal pollution. They were able to reverse these symptoms by inhibiting the action of this gene.

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