A study published by the University of North Carolina, USA, reveals that if a baby has a schizophrenic father or a mother with psychiatric problems, he has a double chance of being autistic.
The study was conducted with Swedish families with children born between 1977 and 2003, comparing the families of 1,227 children diagnosed with autism with those of almost 31,000 children without autism. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism, known as a moderate social awkwardness, determined by problems of interaction and social communication or by a related disorder such as Asperger syndrome, affects approximately one in every 150 children in this country.
Very little is still known about the causes of autism. Some scientists point to certain genes and others to environmental aspects. Some activists believe that childhood vaccines are risk factors, although nothing is fully insured.
According Julie Daniels, Earlier studies have shown a higher rate of psychiatric disorders in families with autistic children than in the general population. And that the highest rates of depression and personality disorders were among mothers and not among fathers. Little relationship was found between autism and parental addiction to alcohol or drugs.
If there is a confirmed association between autism and other psychiatric disorders, it will be easier for researchers to identify genetic and environmental factors that are common among the disorders.
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