Most studies on autism focus on genetics and while there have been a great number of studies identifying specific genes involved in the disorder, many experts have made it clear that there is no such thing as a ‘genetic epidemic.’
This has spurred studies on environmental factors that could cause autism or if exposed to in-utero, alter genes so dramatically that the child is born with autism.
Environmental factors responsible for 50% of autism cases
However, a study just published in the May 7, 2014 issue of JAMA found that environmental factors are more important than previously thought in understanding the causes of autism. The study, which looked at over 2 million people, was led by researchers at King’s College London, Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and Mount Sinai in the U.S. is the largest and most comprehensive to date and estimates heritability of autism to be 50%, with the other 50% explained by non-heritable or environmental factors!
“We were surprised by our findings as we did not expect the importance of environmental factors in autism to be so strong. Recent research efforts have tended to focus on genes, but it’s now clear that we need much more research to focus on identifying what these environmental factors are. In the same way that there are multiple genetic factors to consider, there will likely be many different environmental factors contributing to the development of autism.”
Meta-analysis proves that environment plays a role
Medical records from over 100 million people living in the U.S. were examined by researchers from the University of Chicago. Their analysis revealed that autism and intellectual disability correlated with genital malformation and all were linked to exposure to harmful environmental factors during congenital development.
Lead, mercury and other toxins linked to autism
Dr. Philip Landrigan of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, has identified toxins that are linked to autism, ADHD, dyslexia and other cognitive impairments.
Among the offenders are: lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic,toluene, manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers.
Dr. Landrigan believes there are even more neurotoxicants that are linked and states that untested chemicals should not be presumed to be safe to brain development.
He and other physicians are pushing for the formation of an international clearinghouse to test chemicals before they are put into the marketplace.
How do environmental toxins cause autism?
There are several possibilities. First, in children who have inherited genes that make them susceptible to autism, exposure to environmental toxins can cause those genes to activate. This can happen in the womb or during the first few years of life.
A second possibility is that exposure to these chemicals is causing spontaneous gene alterations called ‘de novo’ mutations. Some ‘de novo’ mutations have been detected in kids with autism.
Promote natural healing through detoxification.
Having worked as a CEASE Therapist for many years, I have seen the direct benefits of detoxing from these exposures in helping children to make great progress or in some cases to become indistinguishable from their peers. In CEASE, we use orthomolecular medicines (supplements given in therapeutic doses) and homeopathy to help restore balance to the body and allow the body to detoxify.
Many parents have also noticed benefits when their children utilize a FIR sauna, take detoxification herbs or go through chelation therapy. Working with a healthcare practitioner that can help guide you through the process is essential.
About the author: Sima Ash of Healing 4 Soul is a clinical and classical homeopath and certified clinical nutritionist who utilizes a unique approach pioneered by Tinus Smits, M.D. called CEASE therapy. The aim of CEASE treatment is systematic detoxification of the causes of illness, leading to step by step improvement and restoration of health in the individual. For additional information, please visit – Healing4Soul.com. You can follow Sima on Facebook at ‘Cease Therapy California’ and through her weekly blog on NaturalHealth365.com