Researchers make autism breakthrough - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/26/09

Researchers make autism breakthrough

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By Cassie Hataway | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - There has been a major breakthrough in what causes some forms of autism.  Researchers have discovered a genetic mutation responsible for a greatly increased risk that a child will develop the disorder. 

Researchers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia tested thousands of children from around the country.  "In my view, this is really going to open up the field now and it tells you the cause of autism is dominantly genetic.  If you have a family who already has a child with autism, the risk of another child being born with autism in that family is substantially increased, there is about 30 to 40 percent [increased risk]," said pediatric pulmonologist, Hakron Hakonarson. 

Researchers say this genetic discovery is exciting because it could open the door to predicting and even preventing the disorder altogether.

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