New study reveals that autism may not be genetic. New study raises questions about the causes of autism.

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice
Until recently, it was commonly accepted that autism is a genetic defect that is unrelated to birth injury.  Autistic newborns were "born that way" as a result of their genetic makeup.  A new study from Denmark turns conventional wisdom upside down.

The new study reveals that jaundiced newborns were 67 percent more likely than other babies to be diagnosed with autism, according to a Danish study of nearly 734,000 children born between 1994 and 2004.  Though doctors have long known that premature babies have a higher risk of autism, this study found a link between jaundice and full-term babies.

The study raises new questions about the causes of autism.  For example, does jaundice cause autism or it coincidental that jaundice and autism are often found together?  The study suggests that at least in some cases the injuries that contribute to autism take place before or shortly after birth.  This flies in the face of conventional thinking that autism is an inherited disorder, as opposed to a condition acquired during the birth process.

What causes jaundice in newborns and can it be prevented?  Jaundice is caused by excessie levels of a toxin known as bilirubin, which causes a newborn's skin to have a yellowish appearance.  Bilirubin is processed and eliminated by the liver, but it can be especiallly toxic for premature babies whose liver is under-developed and not fully functioning.

The accepted treatment for jaundice is to place the newborn under phototherapy lamps, which remove moderate levels of bilirubin from the bloodstream.  For severely elevated levels of bilirubin, a blood transfusion may be necessary.

The bottom line is that jaundice can be treated before the onset of brain damage (known as kernicterus).  What the new study reveals is that autism can be an acquired trait, as opposed to an inherited condition. 

What this means to you?  If you have an autistic child, it is no longer the case that you simply accept the condition as genetic.  Substandard care to a newborn at the time of birth may cause autism, according to the new Danish study, and the link between jaundice and autism may enlighten neonatologists and perinatologists as to a new cause of autism.

Pass along this blog to a parent of an autistic child.
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