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Causes of Autism

Autism is a developmental condition affecting the way the brain processes information. It occurs in varying levels of severity and is a lifelong condition; autistic children become autistic adults.

We still don't fully understand the exact causes of autism but research to date has shown it involves many complex and interacting factors, including genetics, the environment and the development of the brain.

The causes of autism are still being investigated. Many experts believe that the pattern of behaviour from which autism is diagnosed may not result from a single cause. There is strong evidence to suggest that autism can be caused by a variety of factors, all of which affect brain development – it is not due to the way a person has been brought up.

There is evidence that genetic factors are involved in the causes of autism.  Scientists have been attempting to identify which genes might be implicated in autism for some years and research is continuing in this fast moving area of science.

Autism is likely to have multiple genes responsible rather than a single gene. The difficulty of establishing gene involvement is complicated by the interaction of genes, and by their interaction with environmental factors. This means genetic testing to diagnose autism or who is likely to develop an autistic spectrum disorder is not possible at present.

There is so much we don’t know about autism and research is ongoing. Please see the the links below for information about Autism Research and getting involved.

Click here to see Medical Investigations in Autism page
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