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Autsim and auto immune disease


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#1 oracle

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 01:09 AM

Sorry is this has already been posted onto the forum but I can't find it anywhere so I decided to post because during the last few days we have been discussing the link between autism and auto immune disease. The following artcile looks at this from in the inside out as it were - I found it very interesting

Carole

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BOSTON, USA: Autistic children have abnormalities in their immune systems and unusual constellations of proteins in their blood that may be an indicator of the disorder, University of California, Davis, researchers said on May 5, 2005.

The findings "suggest the possibility for future diagnostic tests for autism at birth" and might mean that "we can get children into effective treatment much earlier than is now possible," said Dr Helen Tager-Flusberg, of the Boston University School of Medicine, who led the 4th International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) in Boston, where the results were presented.

The findings suggest that researchers are beginning to tease out the biological and developmental causes of the disorder, which is now thought to affect as many as one in every 166 children. Autism has a broad spectrum of symptoms, but the disorder is marked by poor language skills, an inability to handle social relations and a lack of connection to the world.

Two groups of researchers from the MIND Institute at UC Davis reported that autistic children had a dysfunctional immune system, giving them an abnormal response to pathogens and other agents in the environment.

Dr David G. Amaral and his colleagues collected blood samples from 70 children, aged 2 to 4, who had autism and from 35 children without it. The samples were then studied for concentrations of immune cells, proteins and metabolites from protein processing.

"There were very striking differences at all three levels," Dr Amaral said. Children with autism had 20 per cent more of the white blood cells called B cells and 40 per cent more of the variety called natural killer cells.

Of 4,000 proteins examined, for instance, 500 occurred at different levels in the two groups. "None of the proteins absolutely diagnose autism," said Dr Amaral, but the group is confident that it can identify a panel of perhaps 100 that will be indicative of the disorder with a very high level of confidence.

Dr Amaral speculated that the immune abnormalities might be a marker of autism susceptibility which is present at birth, and development of the disorder could require exposure to an environmental trigger.

"If one could detect at birth those who are vulnerable and understand the trigger, it might be possible to prevent them from experiencing the trigger," he said.

He cautioned, however, that it was still uncertain whether the different levels of immune cells and proteins were a cause of the disorder or an effect. That would be determined only by examining levels in children before they showed clinical signs of autism, a study that was now beginning.

Similarly, Dr Judy Van de Water and her colleagues examined blood cells taken from autistic and healthy children, and studied their response to certain environmental agents, such as tetanus toxoid and preparation of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine antigens.

Dr Van de Water told the meeting that white cells from the autistic children did not respond to the agents as strongly as those from healthy children, an indication of a dysfunctional immune system.

"But we still have a long road to say what role this immune dysfunction may play in autism," she added.

Rick Rollins, an autism research advocate who played a major role in founding the MIND Institute, called the results a "groundbreaking finding. Thousands of parents of children with autism ... have long held the belief that autism is an immune-mediated disease."

Other researchers at the conference reported they had identified a spectrum of behavioural characteristics that could be used to diagnose autism at an early stage. Many focused their studies on siblings of autistic children because they have a substantially increased risk of developing the disorder - as much as 50 times the risk of the general population.

Dr Wendy Roberts at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and her colleagues studied 150 such siblings. She reported at the meeting that 19 had distinctive patterns of conduct as early as age 12 months. Among other symptoms, the children made little eye contact, even with parents, had trouble visually following an object, and had difficulty displaying emotions with their faces, such as by smiling. All 19 of the children subsequently developed autism, she said.

"A critical mass of scientists and the new tools of molecular biology are deepening our understanding of autism at a breathtaking pace," said Dr Tager-Flusberg. "The immune system, behaviour, genetics, and the environment all factor in to this complex and devastating disease. We are putting the pieces together."

Among the other advances reported by scientists were:

Early detection: Identification of both potential biological markers in the blood (biomarkers) and behaviours that will allow scientists and physicians to identify autism in infants, and thus initiate early treatment.
Genetics: Studies homed in on chromosomal regions implicated in autism. Exciting results came from looking at autistic-like traits.
Environment: Scientists documented overlap between environmentally responsive genes and genes associated with autism, and found evidence for the potential role of environmental toxins such as PCBs.
Scientists reported their findings at the 4th International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR). The UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute, Cure Autism Now, and the National Alliance for Autism Research initiated the annual conference, which is the most extensive exploration of research advances in autism.

Scientists reported progress in being able to diagnose the youngest children through both biomarkers and behavioural observations.

"Whereas today, most autistic children are not diagnosed until they are two to three years old, detection in infants would allow early treatment, which can profoundly benefit some children with autism," said Dr Amaral, research director at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute. "And, ultimately, finding biological markers in infants may also yield the fastest route to a cure."

Dr Amaral reported on a comparison of blood samples from 70 autistic children and 35 same-age normally developing children revealed differences in proteins, metabolites and the immune system. These included elevated levels of immune system B cells and natural killer cells in the autistic group, and more than 100 proteins that the two groups expressed differently.

Researchers identified a variety of behaviours, some identifiable in the first year of life, that are predictive of autism.

Dr Lonnie Zwaigenbaum at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, reported that vocal differences at 12 months were predictive of autism in high-risk infants (those with older siblings who have autism).

Dr Sally Rogers of the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute and Dr Marian Sigman of UCLA found that, at 12 months, high-risk infants are less likely to respond to their own name than low-risk infants.

Other predictive behaviours in very young children included abnormalities in gesture, eye contact, body or limb posturing and atypical sounds and words. In addition, two studies showed that clinical diagnoses can be made reliably at 14 to 18 months of age. This is a major advance over current clinical practice, which diagnoses children between ages three and four.

Autism has a strong genetic component, and estimates are that five to 20 genes are likely to be involved in the condition. Some of these genes may be responsible for inherited traits that by themselves do not cause autism, but may be associated with it. These traits, called endophenotypes, can be behavioural or biological. Scientists are identifying such traits in the family members of autistic children.

"As we identify endophenotypes and their related genes, such as for language delay, we will be homing in on genes for autism," said Dr Daniel Geschwind of the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine. "This is one of the most exciting developments in the field of autism genetics today."

Scientists at the conference reported on endophenotypic traits such as large head-size in family members, parents' abnormal brain processing of faces, and the degree to which relatives of autistic children can read another person's mental state.

One recent study by Dr Geschwind and colleagues validated the importance of endophenotypes in teasing out the genetics of autism. The study identified autism-related regions of the genome in children who are part of the AGRE consortium (the largest publicly available collection of autism families).

#2 DaisyProudfoot

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 11:15 AM

Thanks Carole,

That is an interesting read. It would certainly make sense to me but then I've considered a link for quite some time.

#3 call me jaded

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 02:04 PM

We saw the geneticist last week after a three year gap. They're doing some DNA testing which sounds interesting, but we won't get any results for months. They're looking for a syndrome 'on top' of autism.

#4 justamom

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 02:24 PM

very intersting read Carole, thanks for that - K has AS and IBD which is a auto immune disease (body thinks that the bowel is a foreign object) so it makes sense to me!!

#5 LindaB

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 06:21 PM

DD has AS and IBS as well. She also has had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME for the past 2 years.

#6 SandraB

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 08:33 AM

QUOTE (LindaB @ Mar 3 2006, 07:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
DD has AS and IBS as well. She also has had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME for the past 2 years.


There is some research reported by the BBC on the web (search auto-immune/autism/rhematoid), a small study showing that children with autism appear more likely to have relatives with auto-immune diseases, inc rhematoid arthritis - they don't mention celiac disease, but of course that is an important one.
The new study quoted is really interesting to me. I have a cousin whose child has celiac disease. I am myself intolerant to gluten - don't know if I have celiac or not. I have a child with Asperger's. And I have two extremely close relatives suffering chronic cancers of the immune system. Chronic Lymphoctyic Leukaemia. Characterised by raised levels of white B cells. Look what it says about B cells in this study. These problems all go up my maternal line - that's where the genetic flaw is.
The reaction of the medical establishment is "hey, we can use drugs to treat autism" but the reaction surely ought to be - these are clues which may lead us to the trigger. What is triggering the CLL/SLL? What is triggering autism? Because as far as I understand it, you have the genetic susceptibility but you need a trigger too. In celiac disease eating wheat/rye/barley is the trigger.
Might it be worth doing an on-line anon. survey of contributors to this forum to see if we have high numbers of auto-immune diseases in our families too? It might increase the pressure for a properly funded study.
Just a thought...

#7 Sooze2

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 10:55 PM

QUOTE (SandraB @ Jul 16 2008, 08:33 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There is some research reported by the BBC on the web (search auto-immune/autism/rhematoid), a small study showing that children with autism appear more likely to have relatives with auto-immune diseases, inc rhematoid arthritis - they don't mention celiac disease, but of course that is an important one.


Ive just come across this, very interesting! I have rhumetoid arthritis, I think I will go off and do a bit of Googling.

Do you have any more info about this Sandra?

Thanks

#8 Sooze2

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 11:09 PM

This part of an article is interesting:

Immunological studies of autistic patients have revealed certain features that are also found in patients with other autoimmune diseases. There is a genetic predisposition for several autoimmune diseases6 , like grave's thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and insulin-dependant diabetes. Likewise, autism shows a greater concordance rate in monozygotic twins than in the normal population.7 Autism is also four to five times more prevalent in boys than in girls ? a gender factor which is also seen in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Grave's disease, and ankylosing spondylintis (though this is more common with women than men).

I have rheumatiod arthritis and ankylosing spondylintis, it showed up in a blood test I had because of chronic pain in my joints. Is it saying that if you have these things then your child is more likely to be Autistic? I have idetical twins and have worries about one of them because she is very very shy and immature, is getting more like her brother in terms of understanding and over emotional plus her sister is far far ahead of her in all areas.

I am wondering if I need to think about them all having blood tests done!



#9 SandraB

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 05:34 PM

QUOTE (Sooze2 @ Mar 4 2009, 11:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This part of an article is interesting:

Immunological studies of autistic patients have revealed certain features that are also found in patients with other autoimmune diseases. There is a genetic predisposition for several autoimmune diseases6 , like grave's thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and insulin-dependant diabetes. Likewise, autism shows a greater concordance rate in monozygotic twins than in the normal population.7 Autism is also four to five times more prevalent in boys than in girls ? a gender factor which is also seen in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Grave's disease, and ankylosing spondylintis (though this is more common with women than men).

I have rheumatiod arthritis and ankylosing spondylintis, it showed up in a blood test I had because of chronic pain in my joints. Is it saying that if you have these things then your child is more likely to be Autistic? I have idetical twins and have worries about one of them because she is very very shy and immature, is getting more like her brother in terms of understanding and over emotional plus her sister is far far ahead of her in all areas.

I am wondering if I need to think about them all having blood tests done!

It looks to me as though the high incidence of auto-immune conditions in relatives research hasn't been firmly stood up yet - some studies find no significant link. So I don't think you should worry - it certainly isn't as definite as "I have RA therefore I'm likely to have an autistic child." But research seems to be on-going into the theory that autism is an auto-immune disease itself.
I found this on PubMed - I hope it's not one of the ones already cited above, please forgive me if so.

Li X, Chauhan A, Sheikh AM, Patil S, Chauhan V, Li XM, Ji L, Brown T, Malik M.
Department of Neurochemistry, NY State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, NY 10314, New York, United States.

This study determined immune activities in the brain of ASD patients and matched normal subjects by examining cytokines in the brain tissue. Our results showed that proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-6 and GM-CSF), Th1 cytokine (IFN-gamma) and chemokine (IL-8) were significantly increased in the brains of ASD patients compared with the controls. However the Th2 cytokines (IL-4, IL-5 and IL-10) showed no significant difference. The Th1/Th2 ratio was also significantly increased in ASD patients. Conclusion: ASD patients displayed an increased innate and adaptive immune response through the Th1 pathway, suggesting that localized brain inflammation and autoimmune disorder may be involved in the pathogenesis of ASD.

PMID: 19157572 [PubMed - in process]



#10 Sally44

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 12:36 AM

I have my own personal theory along the above lines mentioned. But I think that 'autistic spectrum disorders' may turn out to develop over generations ie. there is a basic genetic weakness which leads the first generation to have a fairly low key auto immune response, that is exaggerated in the next generation and then maybe the third or fourth generation may have a child on the spectrum.
In my family we have milk intolerance, asthma, diabetes, hay fever, chromosone abnormalities, developmental delay. In the wider family we also have RA, mental illness etc. I have a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, and I often find at various parent meetings or support groups that alot of the parents/families have other health conditions in the family seeming to indicate a pre-disposition or weakness towards certain disorders or syndromes.
I just wish someone would come up with some answers. There are days when everything is good and going well and I can begin to see a bright future. Then on another day everything single thing is wrong whether it is due to autism or sensory stuff, or language or social interaction and it is just so hard for him because he is so self aware and he recognises he is different.

#11 purplehaze

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 05:13 PM

children with autism appear more likely to have relatives with auto-immune diseases

I find this subject very interesting, my son has ASD and a bowel disorder like IBS symtoms and my daughter has just been dx with alopecia areata and has some traits of ASD.



#12 Aaryk Noctivagus

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 06:26 PM

I am Autistic and I have an Auto Immune disease... Rheumatoid-type Arthritis... the 'type' is because, unlike RA, I am affected asymetrically. My body treats my joints like foreign matter. Fortunately, with my Autism I am Hypo-sensitive to pain, so I just feel the discomfort rather than too much of the pain Doctors seem to expect me to be feeling. Clouds and silver linings, eh? smile.gif




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