Home > Science > California Autism Twin Study Suggests Prenatal Risk Factors

California Autism Twin Study Suggests Prenatal Risk Factors

Posted by Clara Lajonchere, PhD, vice president of clinical programs, Autism Speaks

As head of clinical programs at Autism Speaks, I oversee a number of vital resources for researchers studying the causes and treatment of autism. Today brought the publication of a new and revealing study made possible by Autism Speaks’ Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE).

Autism researchers have been studying twins for years for insights into the genetic and nongenetic factors that influence the development of autism. One of the most powerful ways to do so is to study twins (both identical and non-identical) where at least one of the pair has autism. This approach allows us to look at how often both twins receive a diagnosis of autism.  Study of identical twins, who share 100 percent of their genes, then helps us determine the degree to which autism is inherited, or genetic; and comparison to fraternal twins, who share around 50 percent of their DNA, allows us to understand how environmental influences add to the risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

But until now we’ve had only three, small twin studies, which together looked at just 66 twin pairs–a number too small to produce reliable conclusions. Still, these studies were the best we had, and theysuggested that when one identical twin develops an ASD, the chance of the other twin developing the disorder is as high as 90 percent. These same studies showed little to no overlap among fraternal twins – leading to the conclusion that inherited genes alone produced the risk.

Now comes the game changer. The California Autism Twins Study (CATS) is the largest ever study of twins with ASD, with scientifically reliable information on 192 twin pairs, both identical and fraternal. It was conducted by a group of renowned researchers in collaboration with the AGRE team. AGRE clinical staff collected DNA and helped perform the home-based diagnostic and cognitive testing on many of the participants, using scientifically validated research measures for diagnosing ASD.

So what were its dramatic findings?

It found that when one identical twin develops autism, the chance of the other twin developing the disorder is 70 percent. More surprisingly, it documented a whopping 35 percent overlap among fraternal twins. This is strong evidence that environmental influences are at play. Moreover, the 35 percent “both twins affected” rate is higher than the 3 percent to 14 percent overlap between different age siblings. (i.e. If one child in a family has autism, there is a 3 percent to 14 percent chance that a younger sibling will develop it.) This suggests that there are environmental influences uniquely shared by twins–for instance, in the womb and perhaps during birth.

In other words, we now have strong evidence that, on top of genetic heritability, a shared prenatal environment may have a greater than previously realized role in the development of autism in twins

This has important implications for future research. For instance, is there a particular time period during the pregnancy when a child’s brain development is particularly vulnerable to environmental influences? And what might these influences be? Already we have evidence implicating such factors as advanced parental age, maternal nutrition, maternal infections (especially flu) during pregnancy, and premature and/or underweight birth. Indeed, multiple-birth pregnancies are themselves associated with increased risk of developmental disorders such as cerebral palsy and autism.

Only by further studying these issues can we begin to provide parents and parents-to-be with the reliable guidance they seek and need.  Autism Speaks is currently investing in several studies that are exploring how environmental factors increase the risk for ASD.  As we go forward in these endeavors, we greatly value your input. So please write and share your comments on our blog and website. For more on the study, read The Womb as Environment.

On July 5th, NBC Nightly News came to Andy Shih, Autism Speaks’ vice president of scientific affairs, for perspective on the game-changing California Autism Twins study. To view the clip please visit here.

More national television media coverage of the ground-breaking results of the California Autism Twin study–research made possible by the Autism Speaks Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) and Autism Speaks’ supporters such as you.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

  1. sfelce84
    July 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Good Post!!

  2. Sarah
    July 5, 2011 at 8:00 am


  3. Jo
    July 5, 2011 at 9:43 am

    I don’t believe for a minute that this is genetic, You haven’t bothered to explain the drastic increase in Autism. Stop poisoning our children and lying about it!

    • Mandy
      July 5, 2011 at 10:39 am

      There is absolutely a genetic component to it. My son is the fifth grandchild in our family to be diagnosed. I have a sister whom we suspect would have been diagnosed, had there been more knowledge in the ’60’s. She has fraternal twins boys and a daughter on the spectrum.

    • SEB
      July 5, 2011 at 11:03 am

      You should read up on Baron-Cohen’s “Extreme Male Brain Theory of Autism” and the intersection between this theory and the increase in assortative mating of people. It supports the idea that genetics is a factor in this.
      However, I do believe that environmental factors may be leading to an increase in autism cases. Both of these ideas have to be taken into account.

    • Leigh
      July 5, 2011 at 11:10 am

      Has there really been a dramatic increase in Autism? Or is there simply more of an awareness of it. There was a time when Autism was seen as the extreme and many of these children were institutionalized. Nowdays we are more aware of the whole spectrum.
      Also how many parents of autistic children would have been diagnosed with autism if there had been more knowledge. I am sure my son’s father would have. And there is a good chance I would have been placed on the spectrum.

      • Jennifer
        July 5, 2011 at 11:52 am

        There absolutely has been an increase. I can’t stand when people say it has always been like this.

      • July 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm

        Leigh, I agree! Back in the 1970’s when I was in elementary school, they were pretty clueless about Apsergers, and they didn’t quite know what to do with me. I was actually alot worse off than my son is! And perhaps my son would have been worse off if both my sister and I had not had a psychology degree and teaching experience. As a result, my son got early intervention at home due to our own education. Even so, he was identified and diagnosed throught the school system by 4th grade because he had a teacher who was very knowledgable. She saw at school what I couldn’t see at home- interaction with peers.

    • July 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm

      My son and I both have Aspergers…..based on the patterns I see in my family, I think there IS a genetic component! As a matter of fact, all environmental affects play on a genetic background!

    • July 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm

      My son has two micro deletions that suggest it’s genetic. Also, if you think it’s vaccines (I’m assuming that is the poison you are referring to, correct me if I’m wrong), then explain the increase of Autism despite the huge DECREASE in the number of vaccinated children.

    • DC
      July 5, 2011 at 9:38 pm

      There is absolutely a genetic link. Look at your family closely.

    • October 30, 2011 at 10:58 am

      There have been studies into adults with learning difficulties that show many of them are undiagnosed ASD sufferers. In fact, all the work done is showing older adults (when re-examined) have the same kind of rates of ASD as children do right now. So there has been NO increase in ASD frequency in the past few decades.


      “It should also be noted that all of this research, while supporting the hypothesis that the rise in autism diagnoses is not due to a true increase in the incidence but rather is due to a broadening of the definition and increased surveillance, does not rule out a small genuine increase in the true incidence. A small real increase can be hiding in the data. There is no evidence upon which we can conclude, however, that true autism rates are increasing.”

      This item has links to other studies with the same conclusion.

      • Mary Ross
        October 31, 2011 at 5:18 pm

        The question of whether or not there has been a real increase in autism can best be answered by talking with grade school and pre-school teachers. These educators know how to tell slow learners, retarded, socially immature kids from autism spectrum disorder kids. And they report there are many more entering our schools now than there ever were. Of course psychological testing has become more sophisticated and more precise over the years but the professionals who know children and can give us their opinions based on years of observation are the ones to be trusted.

  4. otjoan
    July 5, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Thank you for this update. I am interested in the shift you’ve made from linking genetics in the smaller studies with a 90% likelihood of autism in identical twins, to now more strongly considering prenatal environment in this larger study, with a 70% likelihood of autism in identical twins. What is it about the 90% vs. 70% that causes the shift in thinking from genetics to environment?

    • Christine
      July 5, 2011 at 11:04 am

      I’m confused about that too. Why does a change from 90% to 70% indicate environmental factors instead of genetic?

      • Tom
        August 10, 2011 at 8:39 pm

        I think it is the 35% incidence of ASD among fraternal twins that suggests the environmental impact. Fraternal twins (I think!) have the same amount of genetic overlap as siblings, yet they have a much higher incidence of ASD (35%) vs siblings (3-14%) as reported in this post. So that suggests that something other than genetics such as environmental factors, causes the increase. It could be the shared pre-natal environment, or some common diet or exposure shared in early life.

  5. Stephanie
    July 5, 2011 at 9:51 am

    As a mom of fraternal twin boys with ASD this comes as no surprise but a revalation to those who question the diagnosis of both boys constantly

  6. Noreen
    July 5, 2011 at 9:51 am

    That’s great – this is something I have been saying (about twin studies). I hope the numbers are closer to the “factual” numbers now :) Environmental also means vaccines (the mother received). The only time I received a flu shot was per the Dr.’s request. I did not feel well after the shot and developed a rash (the Dr. was clueless and said everyone gets itchy skin) My husband looked it up (I had no problems before this with my pregnancy) and though my liver was having a hard time after the shot. Interestingly enough, these babies kidneys and livers are NOT developed when the “geniuses who make no mistakes” decided the babies need a shot. Check on the Vaccination Status please and Listen to Parents. I had two shots and I got sicker from the FLU shot (just like my baby, who was the ONLY out of three to develop AUTISM). Thanks for LISTENING and for telling us the vaccinated status too :)

    • Jennifer
      July 5, 2011 at 11:55 am

      Noreen I 100% agree. I too got a flu shot with my third child( not with my others) during my pregnancy and he is the only one out of four children that developed ASD.

  7. pam brazier
    July 5, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I have identical twin boys 22 years old.One has autism the other one does not.Brandon my son who has autism did not speak at all till he was almost 12 years old.He does speak now in short phrases and gets his point across very well. He is very easy going and very funny! He is called the “gentle giant” at his workshop.We are very blessed.

  8. Noreen
    July 5, 2011 at 9:55 am

    P.S. I was older when I had my 3rd child (3 years) and didn’t vaccinate. No Autism here :) thank goodness and no bad reactions to shots and no ear infections at all Hmmm Immune system related and vaccines triggering something. I think so!!!! Do I think there is a genetic predisposition sure and I felt so with my 3rd but chose not to overload her liver or immune system, which BY THE WAY acts Randomly :) so of course, I want to KNOW about the 65% frat twins that DID NOT develop Autism and ESPECIALLY their vaccinated status :) Thanks for gettting us more updated FACTS.

    • Denise
      July 5, 2011 at 10:57 am

      Your story is much like mine. 3 girls. Oldest is Aspergers, middle didn’t get vaccines till she was 3 1/2 and she is neurotypical, youngest is hf autistic and I was given a flu shot at about 14 weeks pregnant and I got the worst flu ever a month later. She also rec’d a flu shot at 6 months old.

  9. Jo
    July 5, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I’ve not heard about the studies on parental age, does anyone have a link to something that will explain that part? Has there been any study of larger babies? We all know that smaller/premature babies have more difficulties, but what about babies born over 9lbs (like my little Aspie)? These children can have a lot of issues prenatally and during delivery as well. Do these children have a slightly higher risk too, just as the premie babies? And does the study bring light to whether these twins were premature or not? If premature babies are already at a higher chance of developing developmental disabilities, doesn’t that skew the study just a bit? I mean these children were already more likely than a singleton pregnancy to have autism, was this increased risk factor taken into account during the study? And since it’s pretty common knowledge that a twin pregnancy is considered “full-term” at 37 weeks gestation, exactly what would be the standard deviation for declaring a twin pregnancy to be premature, 36 weeks? 32? For me this study raised more questions than answered.

  10. Donna
    July 5, 2011 at 10:08 am

    My twin neices are both autistic, although one is more high functioning than the other. They will be 16 in a couple of months. The research has come a long way. Keep up the good work.

  11. Jo
    July 5, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Wow this study has been torn to pieces LOL Personally I don’t care about the vaccination status, because FOR US, I don’t believe vaccinations had anything to do with it. As a newborn, my daughter didn’t want to be held, hated to be wet, was extremely picky about food (formula had to be cold, breast milk had to be warm or she wouldn’t drink it, she’d just scream), she never pointed for anything, didn’t talk til she was nearly 3, toe walked, and would fall on her wrists to avoid the dirt on our driveway. She was always “odd” from the very beginning. As she got older, we found out why. FOR US, it had nothing to do with vaccines, she’s never had an issue with them, neither has her brother (who’s being evaluated soon).

    • Noreen
      July 5, 2011 at 10:44 am

      Sounds strong genetic in your case and you are a very observant mother! Good on you and I also liked all your questions. Many people are also questioning “difficulty in delivery” and the Hep B shot is very controversial in the Medical community. Did you have a normal delivery and did your child receive a Hep B?

    • July 5, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      My son has two micro deletions that have been linked to Autism, and he was the same way as your daughter as far as showing signs even as a newborn! Never took a binkie, took a very long time to learn to eat, couldn’t stand to be swaddled, was terrified of the usual noises that babies usually like, like the vacuum, etc., had severe sensory issues with things like grass, dirt, rice, couldn’t eat the majority of his baby food because of the textures, especially the cereals, didn’t sit up until he was almost 9 months old, yet crawled at a normal age, never played with his feet or played peek-a-boo, never made eye contact, and was very very picky about who held him. Basically, if you weren’t a woman with a soft voice, or if you were wearing perfume or cologne, you couldn’t hold him because he would SCREAM.

      • Noreen
        July 6, 2011 at 9:01 am

        Yes, I’ve heard these stories before. Some people say there child was born that way. Others don’t even realize that their baby got a Hep B shot while jaundice or in the NICU or immediately. Hep B is very controversial, even in the Medical Community. I was happy to hear my Dr. state this to me when I asked if there was anything environmentally that I could avoid. I do believe that a smaller number of children (like 10% that is genetics) it is from birth but the larger number is things that are physically and unnaturally injected into the small body and the brain that is doubling in size. It is also Central Nervous System related and others have told me that it’s an inmature CNS then the vaccines overload their system. The Hep B is given BEFORE even the BLOOD BRAIN BARRIER is Developed. Please Wait – your baby won’t be sleeping around or shooting up within 24 hours.

  12. Dawn
    July 5, 2011 at 10:15 am

    HMMMM I have fraternal twins one with autism. I find it hard to believe that their are environmental factors when my boys had the exact same environment in the whom??

    • Noreen
      July 5, 2011 at 10:45 am

      Did you call in any vaccine reactions? or notice that one child was having a harder time sucking or sensory/orally or space out/seizures? When did you get the Dx?

    • Noreen
      July 6, 2011 at 9:06 am

      Immune systems react Randomly. :) Does your ASD child have more allergies, asthma or eczema or other related allergic reactions (hives, problems swallowing)? Not all immune systems are a like and they are exposed to different things.

  13. Breana
    July 5, 2011 at 10:22 am

    My first 2 children do not have Autism. But my third does have a form- through 5 years of therapy he has progressed into PDD-NOS and SPD- Sensory Seeking. I’ve always been sick throughout my pregnancies and the only things majorly different with my third was that I got a staph infection from the Zofran sub-cutaneous pump that was in my leg and I was treated with heavy antibiotics. My marriage was also getting worse and the ex made it clear to begin with that he was resentful of this pregnancy and didn’t want a third child- so the stress was unbelievable throughout the pregnancy, and I delivered him 5 weeks early. I love my little guy, no matter what obstacles he may face. By the way, I did have a flu shot while pregnant with my 2nd- and she doesn’t have it.

    • Noreen
      July 5, 2011 at 10:48 am

      Stress is a very Interesting perspective. I too was very stressed during this paticular pregnancy in suspicion of an affair and also was a 9/11 survivor. Anxiety was on an all time high and I would think that THIS MAY change an environment. Some people are wondering about the overexcitability/anxiety factor of Autism. Very interesting though :)

    • MHRTC
      July 5, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      How interesting your accounts are. Mine are similar. My last son was the toughest pregnancy of all three. The emotional stress of really not wanting a 3rd child (I didn’t want a 3rd) and the marriage being rocky at that point and trying to stabalize a 6 year old with severe ADHD, amoung his other health (caridac) issues, it was all I could handle. But I also wonder at times if my post partum had anything to do with it. Don’t get me wrong…ALL his needs were taken care of by me, his father, and a wonderful Mother-in-Law (Memere). But the stress during the pregnancy was like no other. I remember my OB-GYN telling me it wasn’t good for the baby and I needed to help myself. Easier said than done. I couldn’t love this child more and the marriage is still strongly intact.

      • Hope
        July 11, 2011 at 12:22 pm

        I had the same problem: intense stress during pregancy due to marital and financial problems. Developed gestational diabetes so had to inject with insulin 4 times per day. I was 39 years old plus with the threat of having a big baby (he was 8 lbs at 36 weeks)and the amniotic fluid was decreasing to low levels so the doctor scheduled a c-section at 36 weeks. Poor baby was probably glad to get out of that body. :-) I also believe receiving so many vaccines too early was just too much for his immune system that was already compromised. So there are many factors that can come into play. I’m not discounting genetics in some cases but I believe the huge increase in recent years is mainly due to environmental factors.

  14. Katie Wright
    July 5, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I would love to see the birth weights and medical records of these babies- among w/ family histories of autoimmune disorders.

    How can we seriously discuss this study w/ out vaccination status??

    I appreciate the study’s authors laying out the results honestly am not trying to underplay the influence of the environment. Good for them for getting the subject out in front. However, this is so much more than prenatal! Please! Too many of our kids changed. Almost no $ has been spent studying POSTNATAL factors. How much did the twins weigh at birth when vaccinated? Did one twin have repeated infections, antibiotic use? Did one twin have an adverse vax reaction? Does the family have a history of autoimmune disease???

    These are the are the questions we should be answering! The data is right in front of them! Let’s see this job finished.

    I am hugely frustrated that flu during pregnancy is considered a possible causative factor but the Hg laden flu shot is not and neither is over-vaccination? As for parental age, please…let’s get the vaccination questions answered first.

    Womb as Environment is fine but my kids were safer in the womb than after they were born! I want to see a PostNatal Environmental Factors Initiative- starting w regression and over vaccination.

    • Jo
      July 5, 2011 at 10:42 am

      I do agree with you on a few points, the biggest thing is regression vs stability. My daughter has always shown signs of autism, what I refer to as “stability of symptoms”. Even as an infant, there was never any eye contact while breastfeeding, didn’t want to be held, pumped breast milk had to be heated, but formula had to be chilled, she was nothing like a “normal” baby. My friends son (same age as my daughter) developed normally until his one year vaccines and then started regressing. They should show whether the kids in the study were determined to be neurotypical with regression leading to autism, or whether the autistic traits were present from birth. I think THAT type of study would be groundbreaking for many families, like ours, who never had a “normal” child to begin with.

    • Noreen
      July 5, 2011 at 10:52 am

      AMEN sister :) Us Mom’s will Crack the Case. :) yes, us laypeople (as my stupid Dr. who refused to accept that my son had Autism when I told her after the MMR/DPT shot). I also told her it was in the family and also called in a reaction to the FLU shot. She did nothing!!! Who is more observant than The Moms or Dads! WE are increasing the numbers and why are they asking about Persistent Rubella ? and if my child had a vaccine reaction? because THEY KNOW about the common factor! MOMS call in any reaction to vaccines that your child has, especially loss of control of tongue, change in eye contact, inflammation that won’t go down!!! THANKS MOM for helping these researchers OUT! You will be the ANSWER not the problem. That that and shove it in your Refrigerators :)

      • Lisa F,
        July 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm

        I really wonder about the effects of maternal medications, especially antidepressants. Many here have talked about stress during pregnancy, how many took psych meds? I did during my pregnancy with my 11-year-old autistic son. Now my daughter has 3 dev delayed children from three pregnancies on psych drugs. I really need to know if this is an unspoken problem.If these drugs affect our brains who knows what they are doing to our babies. Please give me some input!

    • Megan Cox
      July 5, 2011 at 11:07 am

      I agree Katie, I would love to see how autoimmunity plays out in this (that tendancy is inherited for sure). I have lupus, have a sister with fibro, a dad with RA, and possible type 1 diabetes in a great-aunt. One son has Aspergers and one is NT. I was undiagnosed with my first pregnancy, during which I had a respiratory infection and shingles (pregnancy antagonizes lupus in my case). That pregnancy resulted in my autistic son. I believe he was autistic from birth, but we definitely had an issue with one of the rounds of vaccines. I hold firm to the belief that while we do need the vaccines, we do too many too soon. And, they are not safe. We were adivsed to give our younger son the rotovirus vaccine, only to have it pulled of the market a few weeks later. These vaccines are trading one problem for another!

      • Noreen
        July 6, 2011 at 9:13 am

        Drugs and vaccines are a big part of the problem. Why do the infants need a Hep B shot right after birth and why did they give my child one when he had Jaundice? Can a baby not recoup from the birth experience NOW without a medical person coming up to them (helplessly) with a needle full of ? sexually transmitted disease? WTF happened to America – besides GREED!!!! Protect your children!!!! They are yours to Protect. Your baby is NOT safe in the WOMB anymore. My Dr. suggested (without Medically Disclosing ANYTHING) to get a FLU shot when pregnant – LO and BEHOLD this is the SHOT my son had the BIGGEST INFLAMMATION from and possible encephalytis!!! These Dr.’s are brainwashed. Why does my son need a HEP B shot when Jaundice? Protect your children from InJECTIONS and Pharma Greed.

  15. Kandi
    July 5, 2011 at 10:30 am

    It may not just be pre-natal or birth factors. Non-identical twins are also exposed to the same infectious illnesses, environmental factors (pesticides for example), immunizations, and lifestyles at the same age. Non-twin siblings may be exposed to some of the same things, but at different ages, levels of development, and perhaps at a different amount which could make all the difference.

  16. July 5, 2011 at 10:31 am

    I have triplets that were all diagnoised with ASD… wonder if there will be a study on that any time soon??

    • Noreen
      July 6, 2011 at 9:15 am

      Awesome! Get them enrolled in some studies.

  17. Jan
    July 5, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Very interesting post

  18. Mark Listrud
    July 5, 2011 at 10:37 am

    All i know is Autism bites. I have 6 kids and my 2 youngest ones have it it different degrees, dont get me wrong, there both awesome individuals, it just sucks to see all they go through, even with other children, and odd looks from ppl when a melt down occurs. Thanks to abilify and guanfacine where all getting some sleep, and i can repair the holes in my walls with out having to do it all over again.. What really bites is my wife has limited use of both her hands, so when my 2 teens arent at home, i have to take off from work to help out around the house. PCA? I would’nt trust a stranger in my home with my most valued possession’s, my children, and besides they only have offered to help pay for 4 hours a week. How tough is it to get certified? i heard if i did i could get paid up to $900.00 a mo. for caring for my own child.. Any answers?

    • Laura
      July 5, 2011 at 5:38 pm

      Hi Mark,

      I think it varies by state. In Massachusetts, I was able to be a PCA for my dad who has Multiple Sclerosis and get paid through our state medicaid program, MassHealth. At the time, roughly two years ago, MassHealth didn’t require families to hire certified PCAs. Anyone could be a PCA as long as they were atleast 18 years old. However, I know for our state, parents are not eligible to be paid PCAs for their children, nor are spouses. Your older children on the other hand may be eligible if they are of age. I’m not sure how it works with siblings. MassHealth also sends someone to evaluate how much care the individual needs and allots “X” amount of hours a week that they will pay for a PCA. This process is a pain. My father is completely paralyzed from the MS and needed about 10 hours of care a day and they only allotted him a whopping 10 hours a week at first. We had to fight several times to get an appropriate “allowance” of time. I would look into your state’s medicaid program to start.

      Another thought.. Does the school district your children attend provide home services for them? Some towns here will. There are also agencies you can contact that will provide ABA support for private pay or if you’re lucky via insurance. You could even contact their school and see if their teachers / aids are able/interested in making some extra cash to help out at your house. I’m an ABA Teacher myself and love these opportunities, since you already know the child and family and they know you.

      I hope this helps. Good luck!

  19. Julie Dishon
    July 5, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I have a 12 year old daughter with Autism. She attends a school solely for children diagnosed within the Autism Spectrum. Talking to some of the mothers of her classmates, I found one common denominator among us. All the mothers had stressful pregnancies. The stress was influenced either by health related issues, emotional issues, or a combination of issues. I would love to see how much research has been done to see what inpact stress has on the developing fetus. I have 4 children in all and my 12 year old, Maddie, is the only one diagnosed with Autism. Her siblings are typical children with no delays. My stess level was extremely high when I was pregnant with Maddie. She has a sibling below her and 2 above her. I have always wondered if stress levels impact the developing fetus……just something to think about.

    • D
      July 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm

      Our daughter has three children. The oldest we believe has ADD ( that is being checked into), The second has asthma. Both have had multiple respiratory infections. The third, ASD. No infections. My daughter was having a lot of stress during her pregnancy with the third child though. I would be interested also in how the preborn are effected by stress. For many pregnancy can be physically or emotionally stressful.

  20. Stephanie
    July 5, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Personally I feel that it is a combination of inherited and environmental contributors. I think certain children are susceptible because of their genetics so when the environmental elements are introduced it’s only them that are affected. I often wonder how many mothers have a positive ANA. When I was pregnant I think I had an autoimmune flare and I wonder if that could have had an affect.

    • Jennifer
      July 5, 2011 at 12:03 pm

      I agree Stephanie. I definitely think it can be that some children are more susceptible then others. I find it interesting how many people comment their child was “always like this since birth and vaccines played no role” Most children are vaccinated either the day they are born or at 2 month checkup so how would you know that the vaccine did not in fact change your child?

  21. Maureen Jordan
    July 5, 2011 at 10:41 am

    My fraternal twins, boy & girl, are 24years old. They were 38 weeks gestation @ birth. Daniel was first born and weighed one pound greater than his sister, Sara. She had never shown any signs of ASD, whereas, Daniel had been diagnosed w both Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD. They were subjected to the same prenatal factors during my pregnancy and both received all the vaccines as children. The difference with him is that he was subjected to surgeries @ 5 weeks, and again @ 2 years of age. I often wondered about these stresses on his system and/or the general anesthesia he was subjected to. He attended school with his sister. Although he may have had some difficulty with some teachers and classes, he continued through each grade on schedule. With my husband’s & my perseverance, assistance with a great psychologist, and Daniel’s will power to succeed, he is now a college graduate and employed. As said by Pam above…We are truly blessed!

  22. Susan
    July 5, 2011 at 10:42 am

    My son has Aspergers. He is a complete cloning of his fathers behaviors. Generations before us have dealt with Autism but simply did not have the diagnosis. I fully believe this is inherited and I do not look to find ways to blame vaccinations for my sons challenges. While the actual gene may not have been identified, we know that vaccinations are NOT the cause of Autism. I would like to see the proof, from valid and reliable studies, that support vaccination causing Autism. There are none. We have to keep moving forward with all research in order to fully understand. We also need to be open to all possibilities without bias in order to best serve our children. I have four children. The third is Autistic and they have all had all of their vaccinations, including number 4. Reality is sometimes more difficult to accept than what we want to believe. The cause needs to be pinpointed and perhaps we can move forward with prevention. Thank you for continued studies and for the information provided in this article.

  23. Monica
    July 5, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Have there been any studies about the relationship between Autism and fertlity treatment? There has been a rise in fertility treatment over the past 10-15 years. My “aspie” was concieved through fertility shots. It’s just something I have wondered about. I’m not looking to place blame but just curious.

  24. July 5, 2011 at 10:56 am

    This is wonderful. Thank you! It feels like things are moving in a much more positive direction. Too many specialists, for example, geneticists,” see the elephant” only from their perspective and try to make it fit. Many have had a sense of environmental insult along the way, and were dismissed summarily without looking into a broader scope. To say it’s not thimerosal, and then move towards total geneticism (word?), although it seemed UCDavis held on, to my recollection. The WSJ had an interesting article bringing up the study along with another on mother’s use of antidepressants, and I wonder if it was serendipitously. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304450604576419761141034324.html?mod=WSJ_newsreel_lifeStyle

    Thank you for your important work. You are in my prayers, ha! (I bet you are going to need support to be ready for the onslaught of criticism from those whose studies are called into question, especially those having financial futures riding on genetics or other areas…May the truth prevail! That’s what true science is anyhow, eh?)


  25. Marisa
    July 5, 2011 at 11:02 am

    As the mother of fraternal twin boys, my pregnacy was full term and both were over six pounds, they had the same vaccinations at the same time and they live in the same house. One has Autism, where the other is the complete opposite (he is even an above average typical). Aside from morning sickness I was not taking any special meds, beside my prenatal vitamins. None of my boys (I also have an older son), has had any reaction to the vaccinations they were given. I would like to see and hear more on these studies in the future, even though this will not change my sons present condition, maybe they can help some new child in the future. ALL of my sons are a blessing!

  26. brandy
    July 5, 2011 at 11:07 am

    as a mother of 4, 1 set of fraternal twins, only 1 of the twins is on the sprectrum (aspergers). keep the research going for the sake of our children

  27. Megan Creech
    July 5, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Thought this was interesting about the twins.. I don’t have twins but I do have a 4yr old daughter with Autism. She was diagnosed on her 2nd birthday. She seemed to be a “normal” functioning baby until she got her shots..if they aren’t to blame then it must be a HUGE coincidence. She stopped her baby talk & eye contact..etc. I’m not an older mother, I was 20 when I had my daughter…had a very smooth pregnancy. She was born 2 weeks late weighing 7lb5oz..perfect! With OT & Speech therapy my daughter is starting to spit out words when asked..(mainly just the syllables) but that’s a great start! She is very smart & loves to give hugs & kisses. (I was very affraid she wouldn’t give affection due to her autism). I would love to have another baby but I don’t want him/her to have to struggle through life if autism is a genetic thing… don’t get me wrong my daughter is my life, my Best Friend! Just concerned with how she will react to having a sibling or what another sibling will have to go through. Well now that I’ve gone way off subject…think I’m gonna sign off. Lol! Question: does anyone have an older daughter with autism?? & then have younger kids with or without autism??? I’ve read that chances are higher to have younger kids with autism if you’ve already had a daughter with autism being that its more rare for girls…

    • Noreen
      July 6, 2011 at 9:27 am

      Risks are higher, a girl is unusual. You said she was vaccinated (which is the majority of our kids and she had a reaction to a or some vaccines which seems to be the case in 40-60% of the regressive cases). It sounds like your child regressed : ( I am sorry about that as we experienced the same thing. They are finding that for some reason (possibly environmental, possibly vaccines which have NOT been cleared and hundreds of thousands of people implicate, that don’t know each other) their brains are inflammed. I am interested if your daughter every had hives, eczema, has allergies and has had more infections (sicker) than the average child. My son got sicker with each shot, loss control of his eyes, his leg turned in, inflammed for two months at shot, and they still DENY, DENY and why not, they are NOT held responsible. I had another child 3 years later (when I was older) and she did not get vaccinated. She has shown tendencies (quieter, less babble) than my son but now at 3, she is scoring above average and is a chatty Cathy. I feel if she got shot up before her Central Nervous System and Organs, especially her brain which doubles in size in the first year, she would be on the Spectrum and possibly be a TOTALLY different child. Do I think the immune system and the vaccines are involved. Most Definitely! Good Luck.

  28. Linda
    July 5, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I disagree with the conclusion based on the 35% overlap involving fraternal twins – “This suggests that there are environmental influences uniquely shared by twins–for instance, in the womb and perhaps during birth.”… I have 2 sons – surviving triplets (fraternal) – both have autism. However, I would draw an additional conclusion about the 35% of fraternal twins both having autism – they are both exposed to the same environmental elements at the same time during the first few years… so I don’t believe you can state that the influence is in the womb or during birth. My boys were born at 24weeks, and spent 5 months in NICU – both had significant brain bleeds, both had traumatic experiences being born so early. I think this played a role in my sons’ both having autism.

  29. Angie
    July 5, 2011 at 11:26 am

    I have three children of different ages. All three had nearly identical deliveries via c-section, all three received the exact same vaccinations at the exact same ages (including flu shots). My Asperger son is the MIDDLE child. He behaves just like his father, who we believe was misdiagnosed as ADD rather than Asperger as a child.

    Thank you for your work on finding the GENETIC factors that may contribute to autism, as my family knows that it has nothing to do with vaccines.

  30. christina ortiz
    July 5, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I have twins .. one girl .. one boy.. both with asd… one somewhat behind the other. My son is verbal and quite active but very very smart.. My daughter kayla is not so verbal .. and very sensory sensitive.. they are 3 now and she still does not eat solids.. very picky and very scared of any new enviornment.. Jayden my son has a extreme temper that sometimes he can hurt others and himself.. Both are very different from eachother.. in my pregnancy i was very sick with a cold .. hospital gave me nothing tho and sent me home.. other than that .. i eat very well and have yet to really understand why my kids are autistic.. I have older daughters one thats 10 and the other 13 .. they are fine.. there is no autism in my family untill now.. I do beilieve vacinations have a role in the increase of autism and i also believe that the awareness of it plays a part as well.. but i would do it all over again .. cause i love them and they are a blessing.. and i will love any advice and any help that can help me provide all services that my kids deserve!!!!

  31. Mary
    July 5, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Those of you thinking your child’s autism was caused by vaccinations should research Landau–Kleffner syndrome. It mimics many of the same symptoms of autism in young children and has many treatments available. Look it up, for your child’s sake.

  32. July 5, 2011 at 11:50 am

    If it is vaccines, I am fearful. I have 33 month old Fraternal Twins. One was diagnosed with Autism 8 weeks ago and had been showing signs since he was 18 months. (PEd said ‘let’s wait and see’) Going back through their vaccinations, I realized my Autistic twin had his shots done at 16 mos. where as the Typical twin did not receive them because he had a cold. Forgot to go get them when he became healthy again. Recently went in for a check up and they realized and reminded me that Typical twin was behind in vaccines. Gave them to him to catch up, doing what the Dr. told me too….now I have this nagging fear that the last round of shots given to Autistic twin at 16 mos is what caused this and have a fear that now my rambunctious, outgoing, showy, typical twin is now going to develop Autism. I don’t know if I can bear it….

  33. Laura
    July 5, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Did the researchers control for prematurity and weight for gestational age? My twins were born at 29 weeks (2lb 3oz, 2lb 8oz)- one has autism and the other doesn’t. I wonder how much prematurity accounts for these findings?

  34. Sheila
    July 5, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    I had tripletts (2 girls 1 boy) at only 27 weeks. The girls were identical (in the same sac growing) and my son of course fraternal twin. Unfortunatley one of the girls died at 3 months due to under developed lungs. So we will never know how she would have turned out by her identical sister who is now 3 is very smart and a typical child. However her surviving brother has had issues since the day he was born. He had rickets in the NICU stayed in the NICU for 3 months, on a ventilator for 6 weeks, broke a leg due to rickets at 2 months, went into cardiac arrest at 2 months (not sure how long he went without oxygen to his brain) so we almost lost him then, and when he finally came home, he did nothing but cry, cry and cry. Now at 3 he has been diagnoised with moderate to severe autism but he has finally started talking very little a few months ago. All the signs are there that he is so much more delayed then his surviving sister. He weighed 2.1 pounds when he was born and his survivng sister weighed 2 pounds. I dont know what to believe at this point. My husband does have ADHD and seems like my son also has that but no one in the family has any form of autism that I am aware of so really the study just gets me more confused. I will never know if my babies would have went full term if my son would be fine today I just pray that one day we will have hard facts to say what causes this disorder. I do find it strange that more are being diagnosed now then in the past 10 years. WHAT IS GOING ON?????

  35. Jennifer
    July 5, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    See, I tend to think Aspergers is more genetic and Autism more likely to be “caused” by environmental factors. As far as “proof” about vaccines….the only “proof” most of us need are that we saw out typically developing child change suddenly after being vaccinated. I’m not grasping at straws or trying to find something to blame it on. I know that something came in and harmed my child. I would have an easier time if I truly believed he was born that way because then I would not feel the guilt that I allowed him to have all those nasty chemicals put into his precious little body. My fourth child is my only child that has not had a single vaccine and he is the healthiest out of all my kids. He never even got a cold until he was 10 months old( living amongst 3 siblings who had a ton of them) and it was mild. He has had none of the respiratory and stomach(constipation) issues that all three of my other children had.

  36. Tonja hunt
    July 5, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I have fraternal twins. Boy has asd. Girl does not. Premature birth. Some family members that may had been diagnosed back in the seventies as Mild. My cousin just had a son diagnosed. Prematurity. I am seeing genetics and questioning the premature births and everyRelated related including preeclampsia treatment drugs, other related including drugs for premature contractions,

  37. July 5, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    I wonder about the number of ultrasounds during a pregnancy? I have 2 children and my 3 year old has autism. I do feel that genetics are a factor and that is absolutely why we chose not to vaccinate. I can only imagine how they would have affected my little one and the severity of his autism! With my first child I had 3 ultrasounds but with my 3 year old I received prenatal care from a different OB and had an ultrasound every visit. This was his practice for all patients and I would be interested to know the percentage of autistic children delivered by him! Just a thought!

    • Maureen
      July 6, 2011 at 12:00 am

      Sheri, I’ve wondered this for years! Have they ever studied this? I had ultrasounds monthly with twins to make sure they were developing at the same rate. Everyone gets them now during pregnancy–usually two of them minimum. Also, what about epidurals? Seems everyone gets drugs for delivery now. I hear women discuss epidurals before they have even conceived! worth looking at, I believe.

      • Hope
        July 11, 2011 at 1:19 pm

        Because of gestational diabestes, from I was 6/7 months pregnant I was sent for an ultrasound at every visit so by 8 mths I was getting one every week. I kept asking the doctor if there was a chance this could affect the baby and he said no but I still wonder.

  38. July 5, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    This has answered so many of my questions that i have been seeking for the past 4 yrs thank you so much!

  39. Misty
    July 5, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I have twins, my son is diagnosed with Aspergers. My daughter, who we have believed for years has Aspergers, is not dianosed. Doctors refuse to diagnose, though the “symptoms” are there. We implemented the same things we do for her brother, and it helps her greatly. Hopefully, doctors will now stsrt to listen.

  40. James potter
    July 5, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Its the vaccines and if happens during pregnancy its the darn flu shots.

  41. Michelle
    July 5, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    My 14 yr old son has aspergers. I knew he would be “different” from the beginning. I believe that his father should have been diagnosed on the spectrum but was instead labeled with ADHD and then proceeded to self medicate with drugs and alcohol from the time he was a teenager. I have always had anxiety and depression issues myself. I don’t know if I will ever truly know if my son inherited this from his father; if he developed it because of my issues and the stress I was under being married to a drug addict while pregnant with him; or a combination of it all.

  42. July 5, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    I believe that the genetic component is the person’s own suseptability level to some type of environmental factor that triggers Autism to come out in that person. Just as some people are allergic to peanuts and strawberries, I feel that Autistic children inherit a suseptability to toxins in the environment that they are first exposed to during gestation and then once they are born they are exposed to more of it. I have no doubt that foods we eat, toxins in our air and water, and vaccines all contribute to ASD. That is why the cause is so elusive to scientists, no single trigger can be blamed. They all have the potential to cause harm and most likely do for the individual who has Autism.

  43. July 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    I am the mother of fraternal twin girls. One has autism/nonverbal and the other has no signs of autism When they received the MMR vaccination, the twin with autism had a reaction (fever and rash) and the other did not. I do not believe that the vaccination directly caused her to have autism, but I do have a concern about blamket vaccinations for all. Just as one person can be allergic to shellfish and the sibling have no allergy, the same can hold true with vaccinations. In that regard I am not in agreement with the blanket vaccinations.

  44. Wendy Barrales
    July 5, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I believe for certain there is a genetic component involved but just not figured out yet. We have autism and aspargers in numerous generations in our family following a direct line of decendents. I believe environmental factors also play some sort of a roll.

  45. Elizabeth
    July 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    I have twin girls. Each girl had their own placenta and their own sac. I did not take any vaccinations during my pregnancy and only one of my daughters has autism. To say that a shot causes autism is refusing to look at the whole picture. I am sad for the people who pin all of the blame on vaccinations. It’s been proven otherwise. Yes, it may be a factor, but to blame it outright is those refusing to see the whole picture. And we must not forget that the research on this is just beginning. We have so much to learn. And so far ALL studies DO NOT indicate vaccinations have anything to do with it. Not saying that it won’t be found as a factor in the future, but let’s not put all of our eggs in one basket.

  46. TrishG
    July 5, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Finally, I’m starting to get some answers. I was pregnant with quadruplets (naturally) and after 2 stopped growing in utero, the other two were born healthy. Boy/girl twins, they were diagnosed with forms of Autism when in 2nd grade. The boy has ADHD and the girl has PDD-NOS (3of 5 criteria for Aspergers) and learning disabilities. I believe something may have happened during pregnancy (deprivation from the other two?) but also genetic factors may also contribute. I believe my husband had ADHD as a child, as well as my brother. I would like to see further studies on this subject. Thank you for sharing!!

  47. Katie Wright
    July 5, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    I can imagine that stress can only be a negative factor in a pregnancy and I am sorry for all the Moms who experienced their pregnancy in this manner. I was fortunate in the fact I felt great, was totally healthy and enjoyed working until the day of my delivery and yet I have a severely ASD child. I think there is something much more potent than stress at work. Think about life during the Great Depression for example. Things were incredibly hard for families but we did not see an epidemic of autism- at least not the kind of regressive autism my son has- it is impossible to miss.

    Males are 5x more vulnerable to toxic insults than girls- hence the male female ASD ratio. Even though they share identical womb- they have different suspectibilities. Even brothers have have varying reactions to immune challenges. We need to isolate postnatal factors like over vaccination and chronic illness.
    These issues have barely been studied by independent sources.

  48. Jacqueline
    July 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Thanks for this post! As a mother of a recently diagnosed 3-year-old son, I am gathering as much information on ASD as possible… I am eager to learn more. Thanks and I pray that every endeavor undertaken is a step closer to finding a cure.

  49. Dick Dalton
    July 5, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Doesn’t this study contribute to the ‘new’ science of Epigenetics? I wondered why the term was not even mentioned in the study, blog, or articles about it. Has epigenetics not been accepted into the fold yet?

  50. Maureen
    July 5, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Dawn, if you had fraternal twins they did not have the exact same environment in the womb. They would have had separate chorions and amnions and two placentas, most likely. For the woman who had a flu shot one month and the worst case of flu the next month doesn’t mean the shot caused it. The flu shot is made up each year based upon which strains they think are most likely of the seven or eight (or however many there are) to occur that season. In all likelihood, you were going to get flu regardless of the shot. This study mentions the affect on the baby due to illness of the mom; it could have been your flu, not the vaccination, that had some affect on your child having autism. I have twenty-seven year old twins sons with ASD–one Asperger’s, one classic autism. The tests at birth said they were identical but as time has gone on, I believe they are fraternal. I believe in the genetic link (look at other familial disorders like depression, bi-polar disorder, ADHD, etc) and environmental. The maternal age, illness, early delivery, low birth weight, vaccine theories just don’t apply to us.

  51. Cheryl Kovac
    July 6, 2011 at 2:33 am

    I have read an article that said that maternal inflammation may play a role in the child developing autism. Can you tell me if they have looked at the link between maternal lupus and autism. I and some of my friends have lupus and have children on the spectrum. My youngest has been diagnosed as being on the spectrum and my lupus wasn’t diagnosed until after he was born but during the pregnancy I was not well and developed gestational diabetes, had kidney issues and was extremely fatigued which looking back now may have been a flare. I didn’t notice the lesion which was confirmed as DLE until just after he was born.

  52. Sarah
    July 6, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Science and common sense dictate that environmental factors play a role.

    It stands to reason that with autism numbers skyrocketing from 1 in 5000 in the 1970′s to 1 in 110 in 2011, that environmental factors (toxins) play a prominant role in the autism increase.

    Most likely we have a genetically sensitive population of children who are being exposed early in life to toxins that are overwhelming their immune systems resulting in chronic neuroinflammation/ immune dysfunction. Autistic behaviors (like head banging) are a manifestation of the underlying immune dysfunction triggered by these toxins.

    The pieces of the puzzle are coming together to reveal a clear picture. Perhaps now we can look at innovative medical treatments beyond traditional therapies.

    toxic exposures+ vulnerable population+ immune dysfunction/inflammation= autism

  53. Elizabeth Anne Pfeiffer
    July 6, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    “Only by further studying these issues can we begin to provide parents and parents-to-be with the reliable guidance they seek and need” So, the research is neither reliable nor is it conclusive. Thanks for all your help. Now ever pregnant woman who is either a)carrying twins b)has had a cold or c) is over the age of what?…you didn’t provide that information either…is going to have an autistic child.
    Please do us all a favor. When you have a study that can be replicated and provide some sort of concrete evidence with less generic findings, please do provide us with your findings. Until then…send your reports to Obama since he is paying you.
    P.S. Remember what Dr. Spock said “You know more than you know” And I know you jumped the gun and your conclusions are inconclusive…at best.

  54. cindy
    July 7, 2011 at 12:46 am

    so i got pregnant in New orleans a few months after hurricane Katrina i have 2 healthy daughters which are older and my son who is 5 now has Asperger. That city was soaking in toxic polluted water and building were filled with mold my daughter was sick with hives and in the hospital after the hurricane we have now moved which she does not have it anymore so could that have this affected my son and how many kids born after katrina may have Autism

  55. Dawn
    July 8, 2011 at 2:20 am

    I Do not know what to think sometimes though I feel it is some of everything that effects our children. 1st My oldest is 7 they gave me the hep shot booster in the hospital the day he was born , they also gave him one . I did not know what I do now about all this back then as we had no idea we would have a specail child untill he was around 18 months and stopped talking after his mmr. Years later & many tests we know he his asd but also has a rare genitics dissorder.
    2nd I have a set of fraternal twins both with asd though one severe the other high functioning, neither have our 1st sons genitics disorder though and I limited thier shots so they got them but at a much more spaced out interval. I do think it is some of all three factors but for sure genitics plays a big part. We had our children close together & did not know when I was preg with the twins that our 1st had issues or we might have though really hard about having an only child. I love them all though & to date we had an oops & rounded our family out with 4 & our last is healthy happy avaerage. We love them all, I call the three oldest my spicy children :) They add something extra to the mix

  56. Maria
    July 8, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Are there studies about how the use of sonograms at several stages of pregnancy is related to autism?

  57. Cathy Deitch
    July 8, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Is anyone investigating the increased use of ultrasound in utero; its effects on the developing brain. Many of these children are exposed to hours of ultrasound while
    their brain cells are rapidly dividing.

  58. July 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I think that genetics plays a role in that we are all predisposed to certain things such as allergies. I also believe that environmental causes are the direct reason for the sudden increase in autism, full blown and otherwise. Doctors didn’t suddenly get smarter overnight and in my experience, are really reluctant to diagnose autism. My son will soon be 26 and is severe/profound. The only incidence on either side of the family. He did change dramatically when given his vaccines. He did lose his vocabulary overnight. You can believe me or not. Doesn’t change the fact of the matter. If you find the genetic component, I will salute you. I say it’s environmental with a possible genetic predisposition. Like my body doesn’t dispose of heavy metals efficiently.

    • July 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      I imagine it gets a little weary, being ignored. >>> You can believe me or not.

      Seems like just saying you are wrong (parent) is all that matters. Some day, we may look back on these days and say just how ignorant the science was back then. We often forget that.At least this study is shaking up the status quo,and hopefully changing the directions that are being looked at. Genetics was new, and needed the seed money. They will fight to the finish to keep hold of grant money.

      The truth seems to get lost in the shuffle.

      It’s almost like the kids don’t matter, like they are secondary. It’s shameful.

      Sorry…just needed to bellow, I guess.

  59. Carol
    July 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I buy the loaded gun theory which suggests that genetics play a role, but what caused the epidemic? When my 22 year old son was diagnosed the occurence was i in 40,000. I couldn’t find resources. We were barely out of the “cold mother ” days. Now look at it. My son is allegic to everything. He also has regressive autism. He had language that he lost. What changed dramatically in 1989? The amount of air pollution? Actually it has gotten better in Los Angeles than it was in the 60’s. What has changed is the number of vaccines and the early age they give them to infants. They are compromising their systems.

  60. July 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Many scientists already scampering away from this study…believing their skepticism will make them appear more intelligent. It’s funny to see it unfolding. Good luck and thanks so much for shaking up the status quo. :)

  61. Mary Ross
    July 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    As a parent and educator with a 48 year old son on the spectrum it is gratifying to see that science has finally come around to what I have been saying for years…the genetic factor is there for many conditions, autism being just one of them. All it takes is an environmental hazard to pull that trigger. In my case it was a flu shot during my first month of pregnancy (didn’t know I was pregnant..) I was so ill for the first 2 or 3 months Since this is a critical time for the fetus in brain development, especially the very inner core which defines social skills, empathy, etc., it follows that autistic behavior will be the result. We need to concentrate on what mothers experience during pregnancies. I think we will begin to see more of the causes and be able to advise parents.

  62. Bill Spearman
    July 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Is there any study on how many or what per cent of the autistic children lived on or near militry bases. The DOD has done a terrible job of cleaning up the drinking water and ground pollution, after using ethylene chloride for cleaning engines and other machine parts for years. They are just now getting around to cleaning up areas.

  63. July 8, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    It looks like about half of monozygotic twins share circulation, and half do not, but dizogotic twins do not share circulation. Those who share circulation are called monochorionic, and those who do not are dichorionic. This difference among monozygotes does not appear to be normally observed in genetic twin studies, but makes a huge difference in the likelihood that two twins might share an in utero infection. In other words, a monozygotic dichorionic twin has risk of sharing an infection that is similar to that shared by fraternal twins. This is what should be compared for understanding the impact of in utero exposures to risks of later developing autism. I don’t know if they were able to obtain placentation data, but it is important for interpretation.

  64. Ann
    July 9, 2011 at 12:17 am

    I am a health care worker and I have a son on the spectrum. I understand why physicians recommend getting the flu vaccination during pregnancy. Pregnancy really affects the immune system and getting a bad flu could end in a very bad outcome for the mother. I know that when I was young I was very sensitive to vaccinations. I know that even when my son was a baby he was “off”. I personally think that his immune system and digestive system is VERY sensitive (probably genetic). If I had to do it over I would still vaccinate him. I just would have them given slower. I know we need to find out why this is happening, but I wish that my son had more services available to him. I have done absolutely EVERYTHING myself.

  65. Elizabeth Morales
    July 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    My son Eddie Louis::::::During my 1st pregnancy at age 22 my third month I lost one of my twins which by the sonogram was a fratenal twin pregnancy the doctors called it a vanashing twin. For the remainder of my pregnancy I was extremely sick constantly vomiting I was put on Zofran for the vomiting and nausea but I was never givin a flu shot or any kind of shot except for IV fluids to keep me hydrated. I also suffered from horrible muscle spasms. My son was born normal delivery at 38 weeks he was great no problems. At age 18 months he stopped talking stopped eye contact and was diagnosed with autism at age 2 he has been getting early intevention and therapy he is doing better but he is still unable to communicate at age 4 but we are working very hard to help him with his speech and sensory integration problems. This article now sheds a little light on the fact that he is a product of a twin pregnancy and we have been spreading my youngest Leila’s vaccines to see if it lowers her chances she is delayed in speech but speaks more than my son and has great eye contact and understands a little more. But as a parent I am terrified of having her vaccinated on “government time” she is going on 2 yrs old and has not had her 18 month vaccines yet..

  66. Melissa Cruz-Skaggs
    July 9, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Nice Research! It is a combination of both genetic and environmental factors or at least one of them with a bunch of other possibilities attached. We as parents want to know so bad what caused it for our children and what causes it in general. We can play scenarios out in our minds forever. I have thought out a million different things as parents do. Was it this, was it that, we start looking at immunization cards, looking at pictures at different ages. We can go on and on! My son is 6 and was diagnosed with PDD-NOS when he was 4. Fortunately for our family he is receiving intervention and making strides. I know getting help for Autistic kiddos isn’t easily available to many and I’m grateful for what we have.For those who wonder if Autism has always been around? NO or at least not to how it exists now! This is classic money making proganda when you hear this. These phrases come from those profitting from those connected to Autism. It’s like saying hey, you’re not alone and we’ll be here as long as your cash is. Seriously, the rate of diagnosis continues to increase as 1 in 70 boys and 1 in 110 overall and some want to claim its just being better figured out. That is exactly what the government wants. They want ignorance to prevail whenever they become accused of playing a role in the cause of any adverse effects that take place under their regulations.

  67. marta
    July 10, 2011 at 12:07 am

    About 3 months into my pregnancy, i had to paint the entire studio apartment.
    Week 37 I delivered twin babies, boy and a girl. Now 18 months, the boy is showing signs of autism. Could the paint toxins have had done it? Maybe his genes were more susceptible to paint toxins? I also had a flu shot when i was 6 months pregnant.

  68. July 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    My son will soon be 26. He has a younger brother and sister who are not effected at all. Matt’s vaccines were full of thimerosol. A baby hair sample tested out the roof with heavy metals. There was no difference in the pregnancies or environment of the three children. I have played out every scenario in my head, even crazy stupid ones.
    Thing is, I haven’t figured it out yet. I do know that I believe Matt got a bad vaccine because he changed so dramatically afterwards. Boys are more susceptible, we know that. In your case, I point to the flu shot. I know someone who had rubella when she was pregnant and that child is very severe/profound autistic, retarded, blind and deaf. That tells me that a virus is a terrible thing for a baby. Girls somehow are stronger. We just know that girls are not diagnosed as often as boys. By your theory, anyone who painted a nursery would risk autism in their infant. I think everybody does that.
    Get that boy into some early intervention programs and look at the gluten free casein free diet. I’ve seen that do miracles.
    Because he was 14 when I figured that part out and it was way way way too late, that’s why.

  69. Rose
    July 12, 2011 at 7:17 am

    I am wondering if the mother took an antidepressent durring the first few weeks of preg, does that cause autism? Or a history of depression?

  70. Sara
    July 12, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I am frustrated and disappointed that more efforts weren’t put into producing this study before research dollars were spent on genetics testing. It seems like a great deal of time and money were wasted by not answering the question “is it genetic” BEFORE trying to find the autism gene. It also seems like this is common sense, I am not a scientist, but I don’t believe it is possible to have a genetic epidemic. Autism rates are increasing across ethnic groups, geographic areas, races, economic status, levels of education, and so forth. We don’t have time to waste on research efforts being placed in the wrong areas.

  71. Mary Ross
    July 12, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    It isn’t just autism that has increased…so many more people are afflicted with and dying due to increases in other maladies too. I believe the genetics studies will point to the interaction between genetic propensities for these conditions and the environmental causes which pull that “trigger”. All of us, and I mean the world, have been kept in the dark about the effects of the many chemicals in our environment…some countries worse than others. How much of these modern miracles will we give up to protect our health and our children? Is it possible to turn back now that we are so dependent on these compounds?. And, the big question, if so much money and so many jobs are involved in the production of these chemicals, will our governments respond and pass stringent laws to protect us?

  72. hopingforchange
    July 29, 2011 at 1:28 am

    I think “studies” are misleading. Supposedly, we are not supposed to “correlate” vaccination causing harm, yet researchers correlate all the time. I do not have twins, but I have two kids with ASD and two others with sensory issues and speech problems. Our family seems to have a 100% rate of overlap or at least 50 % whatever way you look at it. And for the skeptics out there, genetic testing has been done and nothing has been found. But we noticed without a doubt that our child had problems after the last vaccination.

    I wish that researchers would stop wasting time pedaling around the obvious, genes do not “cause” a human to drown in water if they are not a fish. Murdering a person who is susceptible to death is still murder. Poisoning a child for whatever reason, is still poisoning a child. And if that poison causes damage it is not a “disorder”.

  73. July 29, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I could not agree with you more. And I notice that autism is added to all the commericals for personal injury from medications taken during pregnancy. They want to deflect all attention from the real cause.

    My son is 25 years old. He is severe/profound. When he took his vaccines, they were loaded with thimerosol. And he changed overnight like the movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I wish I had had a video recorder when he was small. He could sing and talk appropriately. He hasn’t said a word since. Still hums tho.

    I don’t know exactly how the vaccines did this, whether or not it was the preservative (in Matt’s case, it was a factor for sure) or if it’s the viruses introduced and the way that effects the fragile developing central nervous system, but it causes autism. No person has ever developed autism from any type of injury no matter how extreme as an adult.

    A part of me also wonders, what if it’s because of our vaccines? What if the vaccines we took predisposed our genetic material to autism because of the added insult? Our vaccines were crude.

    I know what I remember. I saved his baby hair and had it tested. It was loaded with heavy metals. And no, I did not feed him heavy metals. He had no exposure that the other children didn’t have. My other children did not receive their vaccines on time because I was dealing with a severely effected toddler. Which may well be why they are not autistic as well.

    I wish they would come clean and admit it. I’ve been waiting almost 24 years now.

  74. mark
    November 2, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Impartial view. I have no children,
    fact 1 everything has a genetic basis, yes everything many studies have been obscured because of the political implications of eugenics,
    fact 2 Public vaccination programs are designed to reduce economic health care costs, not ‘save your children’ and lead to survival outcomes which compound in the gene pool. this easily explains the increase in this recessive genotype ,and the reluctance of science to own it.It is well understood by a schoolboy but is not yet politically palatable. Genetics is subject of sensitive political discretion with it’s history of the most disgraceful scientific behavior
    fact 3 Autism may be a different expression of human life, and for those who embrace its challenges a rich and rewarding one, once parents understand there is no one else to blame.
    fact 4. Out of court settlement for a vaccine damaged child (Pauling) was an avoidance of the truth being aired in the public eye where the individual mechanism of harm could come into the public understanding.
    fact 5 vaccinating a genetically susceptible individual is likely to disturb the health balance in that individual only. broadcast vaccination cares not for that individual.
    fact6. Parents consent to vaccination out of fear induced by propaganda. The mechanisms of vaccination are not understood. Parents don’t want to be blamed for the death or disease of their child and so consent. Vaccination becomes an economic choice By The Parent! . Please don’t blame someone else, it will destroy you.
    fact7 the vaccination event may concur and be responsible to the outcome, but outcome may also be inevitable. Autism with all its differences sheds light on the architecture of personality, be humble on your journey. Yes I do know that I know only one thing ! That I know nothing. truly.

    • Mary Ross
      November 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm

      Mark…I so hope you are wrong! What you report is so frightening.
      I am also guessing you are yourself on the spectrum…and yes, all of us need to be aware of your comment re: autism is but one part of the larger human picture and deserves our understanding. I too know nothing.

  75. Lourdes Aspajo
    January 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Very happy for my twins to have been a part of agree twin study and we would love as a family to help in any way we can now and in the future, it is up to us parents of children with Autism to be advocates not only for our little ones but any other parent or child that may benefit from the knowledge we have adquired in our path for a better quality of life and future for kids, parents, family any one whom may interact with your loved ones in the future…..knowledge and empathy go a long way!

  76. February 9, 2012 at 4:29 am

    I really love reading your comments guys.I learn a lot from you.

    Thank you so much


    Day Traders

  77. Joe W
    March 1, 2012 at 1:16 am

    We have two twins that were adopted from vietnam, both identical but were adopted to two different families in the US. Confirmed identical by DNA tests. One has autism and one does not. Both children did not have vaccines prior to being adopted at age of 14 months. We have no history on the prenatal care of the mother, if there was any. The autistic twin had was showing symptoms at adoption at 14 months, easily identifiable. Both twins now live a mile away from each other(raised by different families) and attend the same school. I found it very interesting that it is possible for one twin to have symptoms and the other not, especially when identical. My gut has always been that this is a genetic issue. One identical twin also has a mole, and the other does not. Just living it, breathing it and seeing it everyday..

  78. Tara
    March 1, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Could this be evidence that the genetic factors of autism are carried by the X chromosome? Identical twins share an identical X chromosome, while fraternal twins do not. One instance of this is Fragile X Syndrome, (but Fragile X itself does not account for the majority of cases of autism).

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