Fraternal Twins With Autism: Is Risk In The Womb?

Experts have blamed most of the risk for autism on inherited genes. Now one of the largest studies of twins and autism shifts the focus to the womb. It suggests that the mother's age and health may play a larger role than was thought.

The study found a higher-than-expected rate of autism in fraternal twins. Those are twins that aren't genetically identical and are more like regular siblings. But they do share their mother's womb for nine months.

The new study didn't try to determine what factors increase risk during pregnancy. But experts say they could include stress, diet, infections, a mother's age and medications.

The study was led by Stanford University researcher Dr. Joachim Hallmayer. It was published Monday in Archives of General Psychiatry.


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  • by Anonymous on Jul 6, 2011 at 12:06 AM
    "Those are twins that aren't genetically identical and are more like regular siblings. But they do share their mother's womb for nine months." WITN... really? Please. They are more like regular siblings? They ARE "regular siblings" (and that phrasing has enough issues of it's own). All that needed saying was they aren't identical. I think we all know they share the womb for 9 months. That is the usual time frame.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 5, 2011 at 01:25 PM
    I have a son who has Aspergers, which is on the Autism spectrum. He is, exactly as Tug described it, the odd kid on the street. He is a great kid although he does have difficulty fitting in with others his age. My husband and I are often told by others how well mannered he is. He was diagnosed at age 9 and is now 11. While he has received some therapy, we work with him alot at home and he has had some really good teachers at school that have helped with modifications for him. I had a "textbook" pregnancy with no sickness or complications. He was even born on the due date the Dr. had given. There was nothing during the pregnancy or toddler years that there was even a sign of Autism. It was not until he was older that we began to see differences as he began to meet new kids at school around 3rd grade. While our experiences are not always easy, they are manageable and he is doing well.
  • by srcaufalot Location: Farmville on Jul 5, 2011 at 01:14 PM
    It's cause of all these Pills,the poison in these pills are Killing ,Deforming our youth...
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jul 6, 2011 at 12:07 AM in reply to srcaufalot
      Autism has been around a lot longer than the modern toxins you're worrying about.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jul 8, 2011 at 10:06 AM in reply to
        I doubt it ! I have never taken medications other than over the counter (Tylenol, Motrin, etc) my entire life with the exception of Pre-natal vitamins prescribed when I found out I was pregnant...I had a "textbook pregnancy". Nothing in my life or lifestyle has been out of the ordinary, there is no family history or speculations of anyone else having autism. This is the child the God gave me and I accepted and LOVE him very much...autism or no autism...I do not believe that medications or shots caused it !
  • by Fran on Jul 5, 2011 at 06:14 AM
    Then why was this not a problem until the last 20 years or so. Never heard of autism in the 60's, 70's, 80's or early 90's. In the late 70's the psy. textbook had 1/2 a page about it and students were told they would never see a case it was so rare. Or is it because they now have drugs to treat it, that you hear so much about it.
    • reply
      by tug on Jul 5, 2011 at 06:46 AM in reply to Fran
      My son is autistic. The reason it is diagnosed more is they now have books related to it, not 1/2 a page. Also its a spectrum with many different varieties and conditions. Most children, mine included do not have the full blown version usually associate with Autism. My child has High Functioning Autism. 20 years ago, he would have been the odd kid down the street. We now know why he has his behaviors and are able to seek therapy that has helped tremendously. With this he will probably be able to lead a normal adult life. And no, most autistic kids are not on medicine. Part of the reason the numbers have gone up is Doctors now recognize the many signs and have educated future doctors to look for them.
    • reply
      by Audra on Jul 6, 2011 at 12:04 AM in reply to Fran
      How often did you hear about a LOT of things in the 60s through 80s? I'm going to 100% disagree with where you went on this because of two factors. The first is that autism has existed as long as any other disorder that wasn't well diagnosed in earlier time frames. Thanks to many hard-fighting moms to get help for their children, studies made it better understood. That's the nature of progression in research. The second is that the 80s and 90s do not fit into this category. Autism was well known by then. If you didn't know about it, you were under a rock. That doesn't mean everyone understands it but that's a level of ignorance that will never go away - there is always someone. I also want to add that text which states things are rare is OFTEN wrong. Some people think that Lupus is a rare disease. It's really not. How well do people understand Lupus, even now? Not very well. It's far from unknown however, and it too is a difficult thing to manage in dealing with both laymen and professionals. Ignorance is everywhere. Autism is not new.
  • by The Wise One Location: NC on Jul 5, 2011 at 04:54 AM
    Well, it had already been postulated for years that high womb exposure to testosterone may result in autism; so, I'm not surprised...
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