What Causes Autism?: The Role of Environmental Exposures

What Causes Autism?: The Role of Environmental Exposures – rather good video, but long – 1:01:10.

Most key bits could probably be covered in under 5 minutes.
What I’d give as key takeaways, and referencing some of the time bits on the video where particularly covered,
and adding some details and my interpretation, and wee bit of my perspective (some of the “summary” bits on the video are (over)simplified relative to the rest of the video’s content):

Nature vs. nurture – genetics vs. environment
research is ongoing, definitely not fully known, but to the extent thus far known and shown from latest research:

some autism numbers: 0:47–3:02

  • sex ratio 4:1 M:F (diagnosed, anyway)
  • 1 in 88 (1 in 58 for males) (again, diagnosed)
  • not “bad parenting” – but historically was attributed to such
  • neurobiologic basis (evidenced in autopsies, electrophysiologic, e.g. MRI & fMRI)
  • genes – heritability estimates: 35% to 60% factor (best current numbers; presumption that remainder is environmental factors, earlier estimates were up to 90% and even 100% genetic) 4:34–5:55

    multi-factorial (genes + genes environment + environmental — sufficient causes model), also varies by individual 5:56–7:05

    timing (of environmental factors) matters 7:06–7:36

    time trends 12:50–16:02

    • 1990–2001 autistic births (autism by 5 years of age) rose by 7-fold!!!??
    • true increase? – of that 600% increase, attributable to:
      • DSM changes: 120%
      • Broadening into milder cases: 56%
      • Trends towards younger age at diagnosis: 24%
      • Older ages of mothers: 4%
      • Those total to account for 204% of 600% increase
    • So, … true increase about 396%? … environmental?

    Most significant known contributing environmental factors, ordered approximately by highest contributing risk first: 51:15–52:47

    • pre-natal vitamin supplements (folic acid, etc.) – start before pregnancy, best if started 3 months before pregnancy
    • pregnancy spacing – best if 36 months or more from birth to next conception
    • Limit exposure to air pollutants from traffic, cigarettes, wood burning stoves, and other sources
    • reduce weight (healthy weight, don’t be obese/overweight), control blood glucose (healthy range), exercise moderately to reduce blood pressure
    • avoid flu / prolonged fever, use anti-fever meds if fever develops
    • limit exposure to (avoid) chemical pesticides, SSRIs as feasible (consult with doctor)
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