Autsim is rising at a fast pace and scientists are not entirely clear as to why? One factor they claim is that people are having children at an older age, when maternal illnesses, genetic mutations, and multiple pregnancies are more likely. However, not everything can be blamed on the mother and studies are now investigating the connection between the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and its relation to Autism!!
In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated Autism affected 1 in 68 children (about 1.5 percent of all children). However, this year they updated this estimate. Data comes from studies carried out in 11 communities – Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. These new results were published earlier this year.
According to the analysis, in 2014, 1 in 59 or 1.7 percent children had ASD. This represents a 15 percent rise from 2 years ago. In ten years’, scientists are forecasting that this could increase to 1 in 2 children? What are we doing as a society to reduce this epidemic?
15 percent in two years!! Imagine the rise in ten years!
Also, boys were four times more likely to receive a diagnosis than girls.
WHY? Why are boys affected more than girls? As Autism is a social and communication disorder, girls don’t have as much difficulty because girls are more social and emotional, and talk about everything and anything, whereas, boys don’t communicate their emotions as much?
Although ASD primarily impacts the brain, over recent years, links with other systems have become clear, namely, the gastrointestinal (GI) issues seem to occur more often in individuals with ASD than in the rest of the population.
One study compared typical developing children with ASD children, and those with ASD were six to eight times more likely to report GI symptoms such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhoea. Moreover, many children diagnosed with Autism also present in the clinic with varying allergies to different food types and sensitivities, such as peanut or gluten intolerance, to name a few. Some have to depend on being tube fed, because of such high sensitivity and intolerance.
Other studies have shown that children with ASD who experience GI problems are more likely to have more severe symptoms of ASD. Interestingly, treating the GI symptoms can sometimes relieve the behavioural and social symptoms of ASD.
We are – what we EAT! And what we eat clearly affects our behaviour!
Behavioural issues often stem from early childhood social conditioning, we all learn from our environment first and linguistic capacities in babies are shaped by the environment they grow up in, (with traumatic experiences being the biggest indicator of maladaptive behaviours,) those affected by Autsim and GI symptoms are common and found alongside other conditions that impact the gut. For instance, people with celiac disease are more likely to have autism traits and other psychological symptoms.
The gut and behaviour seem tied together in some way. X marks the spot, and the 10th cranial nerve appears to be the channel that connects the gut, to the brain. Or could it be the claustrum, the neural exchange between the grey matter and the neocortex?
According to many researchers, the GI issues that come with ASD might be due to two factors: firstly, inappropriate immune activation, causing inflammation of the tract; and, secondly, differences in the types of gut bacteria that are present from the environment.
TGF beta 1 is also known to be important in neurodevelopment, so this protein could potentially be the link between neurological symptoms and immune system dysfunction.
ASD with GI had higher levels of inflammatory cytokines which are ‘signalling molecules’ that promote GI inflammation
Their study concludes that children with ASD who experience GI symptoms have an imbalance in their immune response, possibly influenced by or influencing metagenomic changes, and may have a propensity to impaired gut barrier function which may contribute to their symptoms and clinical outcome.
Therefore, Autism may not necessarily be a genetic disorder but more of an ‘environmental issue,’ relative distinctly to the environment in which a child is raised along with the diet, from the environment which the child consumes!
Differential immune responses and microbiota profiles in children with autism spectrum disorders and co-morbid gastrointestinal symptoms. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159118300783
Newman. T, (2018) How inflammation and gut bacteria influence autism. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321566.php?iacp
Newman. T, (2018) The latest analysis published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concludes that autism might be more prevalent than previously estimated. They are now calling for more effort to be made toward early detection. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321633.php