Could Asperger's be caused by external factors...

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Joeker
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04 Mar 2008, 11:03 pm

I happened to take Biology, which was based heavily in biology, and Psychology, which dealt heavily in psychology. Very thorough, very up-to-date, and taught by fantastic teachers. So trust me when I say I know a recessive gene from a dominant one.

If you understand something, you understand it. You don't need a fancy degree to have the knowledge and apply it. It really makes you more authorative on it, but it's not an end-all. They are wrong sometimes, just not too often. As well, I have made a valid argument, sound in it's basis. If your only argument is lack of qualification, you are essentially dismissing yourself as well.

The occurence of ASDs in children of parents which don't have symptoms of ASDs denotes the gene as recessive. The majority of scientific research on Autism and Genetics points to that conclusion. Thus carrying the gene does not denote status of ASD. Furthermore, in something as complex as the Autistic Spectrum the idea of a simple, singular cause is outrageous. That being said, it is scientifically accepted that Autism is predominantly genetic. However, that statement makes no reference to non-genetic causes, leading to an overly simplified belief that there can be only one cause. Other causes are not ruling out genetics, nor does geetics rule those other causes out, any more than smoking as a cause for cancer rules out a genetic predisposition for cancer.

And those school units may be nothing compared to a full university degree, but they still hold some value, or else public education would be nothing but a waste of potential. And they're certainly more valuable than not.


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sartresue
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05 Mar 2008, 12:00 am

TLPG wrote:
zendell wrote:
Let me see if I understand you. genes + trigger = autism. Since the genes come first, autism is genetic at it's root.


No, you got it wrong.

Gene = Autistic Spectrum
Gene + Trigger = Anywhere on the Spectrum (LFA, HFA, AS etc)

zendell wrote:
Here's my problem with it: Some people smoke 3 packs of cigarettes a day for 50 years and are very healthy and never get lung cancer. The reason? They don't have the genes for it.


My mother in law didn't have the genes for it - yet her life was taken by cancer because of smoking. The cancer spread which is what killed her because the operation to remove a quarter of her lung was too late.

There are other examples of this as well. Want to explain that?

The minority who survive for so long under those circumstances must have strong hearts in order to keep going despite the invasion of the lungs - likely keeping the cancer causing nicotine at bay.

So your summary is right up the creek.

Joeker, when the gene is present - the gun is loaded. It's not empty. The gun is not there at all if there is no gene.

And you'll find that NT's who carry the gene in fact have some Autistic traits. They just don't have enough of them to be regarded as on the Spectrum - therefore (ergo) they are NT. Which in that case is actually a mistake.


Designer genes topic

TLPG, I have bolded this section because it got me thinking. I am not sure if this was mentioned but if two genes or at least more than one genetic factor causes people to become Autistic(on the Spectrum), I wonder if it is possible that at least two pieces of genetic material need to be present for Asperger's and other Autistic Spectrum disorders to be manifested in the individual. I have three NT children. It is possible that any or all of them carry only one part of the gene material and so do not manifest AS. If they mate with a person with another part of the material, they could produce children on the Spectrum. My partners were NT. The reason why I did not have AS children was because neither of these men had the other piece(s). :(

Maybe one of my grandchildren will be Aspie. :D


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TLPG
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05 Mar 2008, 4:38 am

sartresue wrote:
TLPG wrote:
And you'll find that NT's who carry the gene in fact have some Autistic traits. They just don't have enough of them to be regarded as on the Spectrum - therefore (ergo) they are NT. Which in that case is actually a mistake.


Designer genes topic

TLPG, I have bolded this section because it got me thinking. I am not sure if this was mentioned but if two genes or at least more than one genetic factor causes people to become Autistic(on the Spectrum), I wonder if it is possible that at least two pieces of genetic material need to be present for Asperger's and other Autistic Spectrum disorders to be manifested in the individual. I have three NT children. It is possible that any or all of them carry only one part of the gene material and so do not manifest AS. If they mate with a person with another part of the material, they could produce children on the Spectrum. My partners were NT. The reason why I did not have AS children was because neither of these men had the other piece(s). :(

Maybe one of my grandchildren will be Aspie. :D


This is actually a very good point - and it's pretty much what I was getting at with NT's having the traits but not being on the Spectrum. Not exactly mind you, but it's close enough!

Joeker, just because you have that basic knowledge doesn't mean you are an authority on it. Those who study genetics at university have access to many more resources than you would have at school - otherwise why the heck have a university system to begin with??

I strongly recommend you pop along to a university and talk to someone who has the qualifications I'm talking about. I will guarentee you this - they'll know much more about genetics than you do. The difference between a recessive gene and a dominant gene to them is kid's stuff!



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05 Mar 2008, 9:47 am

TLPG wrote

I strongly recommend you pop along to a university and talk to someone who has the qualifications I'm talking about. I will guarantee you this - they'll know much more about genetics than you do. The difference between a recessive gene and a dominant gene to them is kid's stuff!

Recession and domination topic

Thanks, TLPG This is another part of the puzzle that I was trying to articulate but did not have the words for in my last post. :D


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roguetech
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05 Mar 2008, 2:06 pm

First off, some people keep saying "gene", which is crap. There is more than one gene at work. If it were only one, it'd not only be easy to find, but there would not be a spectrum, you'd have the equivalent of Down's Syndrom.

Quote:
Summary
genes + trigger = autism
genes + trigger = lung cancer

True enough, but...
genes + trigger = formation of organs
genes + trigger = onset of puberty
genes + trigger = menopause
genes + trigger = who the hell knows
genes + trigger + carcenogenic = who the hell knows + lung cancer

Triggers are not necessary literaly an outside influence, but can be an internal influence effected by outside influence. In other words, if a child has an impoverished diet, they may enter puberty late. So

genes + trigger - diet = partial-onset of puberty

I have no doubt what-so-ever environment affects Autism, but not eating is too extreme of a cure for me to use on my kid.



Joeker
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05 Mar 2008, 5:20 pm

Has anyone with those qualifications told me I'm wrong? Has anyone with those qualifications even been present on this thread? I'm not an authority on it but if I'm wrong, I'm wrong, and so far, no one has told me I'm wrong. Am I wrong about reccessive/dominant genes? I wouldn't have even opened my mouth about genetics if I hadn't known about them, and there is nothing wrong with the information I have provided.

If I spoke to them about this, they'd tell me what I already knew. That Autism cannot stem from one gene, which thus comprises the entirity of the Autistics Spectrum. If you're so firm in that belief that it's a gene to give someone a place on the Spectrum, but the trigger that determines where they are on it, highest function to lowest function, then it should be on you to confirm it, provide evidence to prove the hypothesis, and get it reviewed by someone with the qualifications.

As it stands, we're two people without the qualifications of such a field of study, comparing educated opinon. If qualifcations are so important, then by all means, get those qualifications, or the backing of someone with them. Until then, qualifications matter not, since neither of us have said degrees.


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06 Mar 2008, 6:20 am

Joeker, read my words (as opposed to lips) - you are claiming superior knowledge based on kid's stuff. I listen to those who are qualified - people that you have (to my knowledge) never spoken to. It's not up to either of us to provide evidence. I never said you were wrong based on what you have learned in biology and psychology. I said that knowledge was simplistic - genetics is a complicated field that you can not possibly have the knowledge on because you haven't spoken to those who know. I have, and why should I produce word for word the content of non internet conversations hmmmm? That's all I'm going to say to you.

Roguetech - actually I have to admit that might have been my fault. It is more than one gene. You're right. It's a combination. And what you then put in equation form was the ideal response to Zendell! Well, maybe not quite because I'm not convinced about the genetic pre-disposition to cancer given what happend to my mother in law.



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06 Mar 2008, 8:10 am

Quote:
I'm not convinced about the genetic pre-disposition to cancer given what happend to my mother in law.
genes + trigger + carcenogenic = who the hell knows + lung cancer
carcenogenic + more carcenogenic = lung cancer



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06 Mar 2008, 2:13 pm

OK, I am qualified, I am a geneticist (degree, PhD, everything).

First, there will be many many genes involved in determining autism. The brain is highly complex (supposed to require about half our total genes for its development and function) and one can imagine that a good proportion of these influence autism traits to some degree.

Some of these genes will have recessive effects, some will be dominant, but what is important is the combination of alleles (forms of the same gene) that you end up with. I imagine that most autistics will have different combinations of genes 'causing' their autism traits. This is one reason why we are all so different from each other, although we do all share a general set of personality and sensory traits.

What this probably implies is that there is no one cause of autism, but multiple types of autism, each caused by different sets of 'defective' (or different) genes. At the moment we cannot distinguish easily between people who may have completely a different neurological basis for their autism, but similar symptoms.

Twin studies (I am not familier with the data, but quoting this thread) imply a 60-90% heritable factor for autism. Hence autism is predominantly genetic (although the differing figures probably reflect different forms of autism that we cant yet distinguish - some more heritable than others).

The remaining 40-10% is environmental. However, as the essential part of brain development occurs in the womb, I would imagine that it is here that the majority (but probably not all) environmental causes have their effects. Twins will share the same womb, but may not be subject to exactly the same environment within the womb.

Early childhood may also contribute to the environmental causes. However, vaccines have been shown with numerous studies, not to be a cause of autism.

In summary, each person has their own set of genes which will put them somewhere on the autism spectrum (including NT as the far end of the spectrum). Then environmental influences will act on this and alter the outcome slightly, making you slightly more or less autistic than you would have been with 'neutral' environmental influences. I would say that every single person is on the spectrum somewhere. However, someone with an NT set of genes, will be very resistant to environmental influence in the autistic direction and is unlikely to end up severely autistic, although I cannot rule this out, not knowing enough about the environmental causes of autism. Perhaps a small percentage of autism cases are due to mainly environmental reasons.

Whether the predominant causes are genetic or environmental in an individual person, the resulting effect is a developmental neurological defect. This means that the brain develops incorrectly or differently and can never be put back to a normal state. However, I see no reason why certain drugs/diet etc can alter brain chemistry resulting in a temporary or even permenent change in the brain, making it more NT - at least in certain areas. This wont make the brain normal, but will mean that the output may be considered more NT.



Joeker
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06 Mar 2008, 4:07 pm

I learned my lessons. I learned the knowledge. I apply the knowledge as best I am able. You are harping and harping about how "unqualified" I am, while admitting that you never said I was wrong. If I'm wrong, show me, and I will admt I'm wrong, though I doubt that I'm wrong in saying that Autism is highly complicated, and not all cases are genetic. Most are, I admit, but there are those that aren't.

Quote:
I said that knowledge was simplistic - genetics is a complicated field that you can not possibly have the knowledge on because you haven't spoken to those who know. I have, and why should I produce word for word the content of non internet conversations hmmmm?


You, in this instance, disqualify my education and knowledge of genetics, while asserting your own. That I don't understand it, because it is complicated, yet you do. I don't really care, frankly, recite any conversations you wish. But unless you have a problem with the information I put forward, there should be no problems. Either what I said was right, or it's wrong, and since you don't make any arguments about that which I have put forward, I feel that you are making this personal.

I don't claim to have superior knowledge. I use my knowledge, and I say what I know. And I know, nothing as complex as the Autisic spectrum can possibly have a singular, all-encompassing cause.

roguetech, good point. I believe there are some with genes which prevent them from developing lung cancer, or at least give them strong immunities to smoking, like those tales of people who smoke their whole lives but never get lung cancer, while some people are very susceptible to it.

merrymadscientist, good points, solid points, I agree with the majority of what you have to say. However, I'd like to clarify certain points to further enhance your comments.

The twin studies dealt with all ASDs, with any and all autistic spectrum disorders counting as Autism in the twins. With identical diagnoses(the same spectrum condition), the number is lower.

40-10% is close to another number, 20-10%, posted in relation to enviromental causes.

All in all, a thorough and sound post. Thanks for posting, merrymadscientist.


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TLPG
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06 Mar 2008, 5:36 pm

roguetech wrote:
Quote:
I'm not convinced about the genetic pre-disposition to cancer given what happend to my mother in law.

genes + trigger + carcenogenic = who the hell knows + lung cancer
carcenogenic + more carcenogenic = lung cancer


I take it you're saying that the second equation applies to my mother in law then?



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06 Mar 2008, 7:17 pm

Quote:
Quote:
genes + trigger + carcenogenic = who the hell knows + lung cancer
carcenogenic + more carcenogenic = lung cancer


I take it you're saying that the second equation applies to my mother in law then?
Yea, although it's not as simple as my formula. As merrymadscientist so elequantly put it, there are factors upon factors. Carcenogenics are not a simple, smoke this much and get cancer type thing either. It's like Russian Roulette. Every carcenogenic particle adds to the risk of getting cancer. When the smoke swirls in your lungs, each particle can trigger a mutation. And some lodge in yours lungs, forever raising your chances, each puff adding more. Genetic predisposition increases the odds of a radical causing a mutation. I'm not positive this is 100% accurate, but it's the general idea.

Even with the predisposition, a person can just be plain lucky. And without a predisposition, you can be unlucky. In theory, with no predisposition, you could walk into a room that someone had smoked in the day before, and get lung cancer. But, as a general rule of thumb, the lower your odds, the lower your odds ;).

The original point was that "smoke" is not a genetic trigger, at least from the obvious effect of causing cancer. Causing cancer is not activating a gene segment, necessarily. Gene's being activated or inactivated would be like the onset of puberty. I very seriously doubt there is a "You've got cancer" gene.