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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do you get autism?

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    Autism Victoria, trading as Amaze, is a member-based not-for-profit organisation and is the peak body for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) in the state of Victoria. View Profile

    Our understanding of the causes of autism are limited at this time, although more information is coming to light as there is a lot of research happening in this area.

    What we do know is that you cannot catch autism. Because the symptoms are present either at birth or in the years immediately after, it seems likely that it is a disorder that people are born with. There is good evidence of heritability, but it is a very complex mechanism.

    It is possible there are other factors involved that might affect a child’s neural development or trigger certain genes to activate, but a lot of the links between environmental factors (like vaccines) have proven to be false.

    If you would like to read more, they have some information at the Raising Children Network.

  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease ... View Profile

    There is some evidence that differences in the gut microbiome (ie, differences in the kinds of bacteria which normally live in the gut) are associated with deveopment of autism.

    This free-access paper is a summary: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22233678  .

    This work is very much at the “basic science” stage at the moment but if it is confirmed and extended it may lead to new therapeutic approaches.

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