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New Genetic Find On Autism

newgeneticautism.jpgAutism can be a devastating disorder for a family, and according to the Autism Society of America, it’s the fastest-growing developmental disability, with a 10-17% annual growth. With 1 in 150 births estimated to acquire Autism, this disease is reaching what the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is calling an epidemic. A new study has found an association between abnormalities on chromosome 16 and an increased risk for autism, paving the way to more knowledge about how this disorder operates.

The study, published in the online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, completed a genome scan of about 3,000 individuals with Autism or a related disorder. The findings revealed that there is a section of chromosome 16 that is either deleted or duplicated in 1 percent of Autism sufferers.

Experts have long known that there is a genetic component to this disorder, but have yet to identify all the genetic factors. They are careful to caution that the abnormality on chromosome 16 and it’s association with autism is not a causal effect. Indeed with such a small proportion of Autism sufferers having an abnormal chromosome 16, critics argue that genetics may not even be the culprit. The National Autism Association (NAA) for example, is pushing for more funds to study environmental factors and its association with the disorder.

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