Autism and Autistic Disorders

In days gone by, Autism used to be thought of as a fate that had to be accepted whether one liked it or not. But modern times have proved that Autism can be treated with a wide variety of options and the child could enjoy a very normal and happy life. Autistic cases that are much lesser in severity could be diagnosed as being a ‘Pervasive Developmental Disorder’ (PDD) or as having ‘Aspergers Syndrome.’ The children having these diseases have typically normal speech, but exhibit many "autistic" social and behavioral problems.In the past, autism was a rare – occurring disease which affected just five children per 10,000 live births. However, from the early 1990s onwards, the rate of this disease has increased exponentially around the globe with figures being as high as 60 per 10,000. The ratio of boys to girls is four to one. In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control presented a shocking report that 1 in 150 children were diagnosed as being autistic. Therefore Autism poses a major problem in our society today and calls for immediate action not only on the part of the Government but also the medical fraternity, to curb, if not control this escalating disease that affects millions of children around the world.The study proposes to conduct relevant research on a group of autistic children from different institutions. To understand autism better and render effective treatment, we need to find the genes that are involved. In two NAAR – funded studies, they had found that “candidate” genes were responsible for autism. Autism is considered to have the highest “heritability” (most genetic) and is known to be one of the most “genetically complex” diseases. The two important genes found by the NAAR studies were the Reelin Gene and the Hoxa 1 Gene.Therefore, the method we would be using in our study to find out about these genes in autistic children is called the genome screen or "linkage studies".