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Autism Causes & Risks

Causes

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder, meaning that problems in brain development cause autism. Scientists are searching for answers about what causes these development problems. Studies suggest:

  • Autism seems to run in some families; several genes may be involved.
  • Problems during pregnancy or delivery may interfere with normal brain development.
  • Something in the environment that a child is exposed to may be a factor.

Risk Factors

These factors increase your chance of developing autism:

  • Sex: male (Boys are four times more likely to have autism than girls.)
  • Family history: Siblings of a child with autism have a 3%-7% chance of being autistic.
  • A number of other conditions are associated with autism, although the relationship between them is not clear:

The Conditions Above Primarily Affect the Central Nervous System

Central Nervous System
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2019 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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