Autism Risk Factors discussion

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Question Description

Chapter 7 addresses what we currently know regarding genetic and environmental risk factors. One of the main "take-home-points" of this chapter is that the research and knowledge related to the etiology (i.e., root causes) of autism is incomplete and in need of further investigation. This discussion assignment requires you to consider both genetic and environmental risk factors and apply your understanding in terms of advice you might give a friend considering starting a family as well as applying your understanding toward taking a side in a fairly well known controversy related to environmental risk factors.

Part 1: Genetic Risk Factors

A couple whom you know are planning to have a child. Members of both families have some marked autistic features and behaviors and your friends are anxious about their own chances of having a child with ASD. What advice would you give them? Be sure to incorporate relevant material and/or references from Chapter 7 in your response.

Part 2: Take a Stand on the Vaccination Controversy

  1. Search the internet for discussions that debate the link between vaccines and ASD.
  2. Write a brief summary of your findings that provides evidence to support the belief that vaccines cause ASD.
  3. Write an opposing argument that refutes those claims.
  4. Finally, choose a side and provide a rationale for why you believe this side to be the correct position. Include either links or citations to the outside sources used for this part of the discussion.

Tutor Answer

School: Rice University



Autism Risk Factors
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Autism Risk Factors

Part 1: Genetic Risk Factors
The high heritability estimates in autism have shifted a major focus of research in ASD
on finding the genetic risk factors (Sandin et al., 2017). Various studies have shown that autism
aggregates in families and twin studies estimate the percentage phenotype variance is owing to
genetic factors to be 83 percent. This percentage is a measure of the scope to which a specific
trait is inherited within a population. The 83 percent heritability implies that the risk of autism
increases with increasing genetic relatedness. In couples with members of both families having
marked autistic features and behaviors, the likelihood that their child will develop autism is high
(Sandin et al., 2017). A 2007 study on a database with 86 families with two or more children
with autism revealed that 42 of the children demonstrated autistic symptoms (Zhao et al., 2007).
This study suggested that parents had a probability of 0.5 to pass a mutation to their offspring.
Part 2: Stand on the Vaccination Controversy
The controversy on vaccination as a cause of autism began in 1998 when Andrew
Wakefield and colleagues proposed through an article that measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
vaccines caused conditions that include intestinal inflammation, the entrance of harmful proteins
to the bloodstream, and the resultant development of autism (Patil, 2011). The researchers
supported their thesis by describing 12 kids with growth delays where eight had developed
autism. All subjects who had intestinal inflammation had developed autism one month after
receiving this vaccination. Another reason why people associate...

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