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Genetic and environmental factors for the rise in Autism

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Well we've definitely seen a rise in the diagnosis of Autism in the last couple of decades. The reason for this is not entirely clear and a number of people have been exploring why this has happened. We know that, at least, part of the increase is due to increased awareness about Autism and somewhat increased diagnosis. So children who were previously felt to have symptoms that would not have come to the attention of a physician, are now being diagnosed with Autism even though they have milder symptoms. So that's part of the reason. But we are also seeing a definite rise in children who have more of the severe symptoms that we associate with typical Autism. The reason for this is not entirely clear. It's definitely felt to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors, however, many people will say that our genes probably can't change on their own so rapidly within such a small period of time, so there are probably environmental factors that are influencing the genes and causing Autism. What we do know is that vaccines are not related to Autism. a number of studies have been done and have dispelled that myth.

Learn about: Genetic and environmental factors for the rise in Autism from Jane Tavyev Asher, MD,...

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Jane Tavyev Asher, MD

Division of Child Neurology - Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Dr. Jane Tavyev Asher is a board certified Child Neurologist and Director of the Division of Child Neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.  Upon attaining her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine, she completed residency/ fellowship training in Child Neurology and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at Baylor College of Medicine/ Texas Children’s Hospital, where her clinical training focused on behavioral neurology, specializing in autism and other developmental disorders, and her research focused on epigenetic factors in autism.  She currently maintains a clinical practice at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where she sees patients with a variety of neurologic conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, developmental delay, ADHD, learning disabilities, tics, headaches, and cognitive/ behavioral management in neuromuscular disorders.  She holds an academic/ research appointment as Assistant Professor at UCLA in the Departments of Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.  Her current research interest remains in the area of autism.  Dr. Tavyev Asher is proud to contribute to the training of the next generation of physicians including those specializing in Pediatrics, Child Psychiatry, and Child and Adult Neurology, and she enjoys giving talks on various neurologic topics locally and nationally.  She is a member of the Child Neurology Society, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UCLA CART (Center for Autism Research and Treatment), and The Help Group-UCLA Autism Research Alliance.  She also serves on the Advisory Board of Healthy Child Healthy Child Healthy World.  She enjoys art, music, yoga, skiing, and relaxing with her family.

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