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Jessica FungMr. Jay San AgustinBiology 14 January 2018Autism, a lifelong disorder and condition that impairs normal brain development, has grown rapidly within the last couple of decades. Due to the large variety of symptoms, forms, and treatments, there is an uncertainty in the cause of Autism. Despite this, an abundance of evidence specifically back up the role of genetics and the environment in this subject. Many researchers and scientists discovered gene mutations that are potentially the cause of Autism and environmental factors that increase the risk of the disease. In terms of current technology, Autism remains treatable but not curable. However, it is still important to spread awareness on this subject to promote the inclusion of children within an educational environment. Studies and research suggest that Autism develops through genetic influences. Researchers have identified more than one thousand gene mutations linked with autism. The enzyme, UBE3A, for instance, plays an essential role in the process of brain development by regulating the breakdown of proteins. However, this gene that should controlled at a normal rate can become hyperactive when, “mutations in UBE3A destroy the regulatory switch…-identified as protein kinase A (Whiteman),” potentially damaging the brain. Such harmful mutations are plausible factors in the development of Autism. In addition to alterations in the DNA, studies indicate that the genetic relationship between family members can increase the chances of Autism. For example, there is a greater risk a child would have Autism if another child in the family is already diagnosed with ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder. Similarly, another  idea that showcases this is shown through, “Identical twin studies that state that if one twin is affected, then the other will be affected between 36 to 95 percent of the time (Autism Spectrum Disorder).” Such evidence signifies that genes tied to Autism in one family member can transfer to another member. That said, the numerous research that supports the idea behind genetic influences gives prospective parents insight in the lives of their future children. Moreover, environmental influences such as parental health or pollution raise the potential risk of the inheritance of Autism. Likewise to genetic mutations, most of these factors occur before and during the pregnancy. In terms of the parental effect, research shows that, “…obesity or diabetes, age, inflammation during pregnancy…stress and nutrition…(Autism)” can increase the risk of Autism. Such factors depicts the importance of a healthy habits and overall lifestyle. Furthermore, other environmental elements include the habitatul domain. For instance, “prenatal exposure to air pollution, prenatal exposure to certain pesticides, mercury exposure and other contaminants (Autism),” is a large component that harms the health of the child.  By living in an unpleasant environment, children will be more prone to Autism. Early-life vulnerability to such factors are one of the more credible rationales for the development of the disorder. The great increase in Autism is shown through comparable statistics from over a decade ago to now. In 2000, there was one in one hundred and fifty children who had Autism. In 2017, there was one in sixty eight children who have Autism. This shows that more than 40% of children have the chance of facing disabilities such as speech and language impairments or intellectual disabilities.  That said, there is still no perfect cure for Autism even in today’s medication and technology because of the uncertainty in the cause. However, through the numerous research behind the genetic and environment influences, there are some solutions to possibly prevent the development of the disorder. For example, “prenatal vitamins may help lower autism risk and scientists can test for recent exposure to organic mercury with blood tests (Autism).” Taking medications during pregnancy and having an overall healthy well-being may decrease the chances of a child having Autism.  Moreover, to aid children with Autism, parents can focus on developing communication skills, decreasing challenging activities, and increasing language and literacy expertise. By spreading awareness of this subject, the community can be more involved and aid with the growth of Autistic children. In conclusion, despite the fact that Autism is a lifelong disorder than cannot be completely cured, knowledge of the causes and effects of the disease is essential. Genetic and environmental influences are two of the more likely reasons of Autism. There are medications in today’s society to possibly prevent this and treatments for children with the disorder. Having said that, there is a substantial growth in the diagnosis the disease and addressing the situation to people will create a better environment for these children. Autism is an important subject with lots of question marks behind it but through more research and advancement in technology, the mystery can be solved and prevented.

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