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What causes autism?

Q: My three years old is suffering from autism. I had a normal pregnancy but the baby was overdue by five days. I had to undergo c-section as he had excreted stool in the stomach. His delivery was OK and he cried immediately after birth. However, after 20 hours of his birth he started vomiting blood and was admitted in a neonatal hospital. Shifting took around 6 hours and till then he got blood transfused as he had lost lot of blood through his anus, nose and mouth. The doctor told us that it was vitamin-K deficiency. Then the doctor gave him injections for five days and after that he was all right. A year later, he was diagnosed with autism. What triggers autism? Why is my three years old child suffering from autism? Is autism a genetic disorder?

A:Autism is considered to be a developmental neurological disorder with a strong genetic influence. A number of gene mutations are being detected in cases of autism, but as of now there is no diagnostic test available. In about 10-20 % cases, other disorders or diseases are associated with or can cause autistic spectrum disorders, including brain infections, injury, hypoxic ischemic brain damage, hypoglycemia, epilepsy, chromosomal disorders, metabolic disorders etc. Further, a higher incidence of unusual events in the pregnancy or delivery, have been noted in mothers of children with autism, like premature labour, difficult labour, hypertension, bleeding in the first trimester, use of forceps or caesarian sections, passage of meconium, meconiium aspiration, delayed cry at birth, hypoxia, sepsis etc. In view of your obstetric history, a genetic cause appears less likely.


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