Autism Information

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Autism and Schizophrenia Share Origin

A Dutch researcher said that the same error that occurs very early in pregnancy develops into autism in one individual and schizophrenia in another.

Developmental psychologist Annemie Ploeger, a doctoral student at the University of Amsterdam, said she demonstrated that both mental diseases have similar physical abnormalities which are formed during the first month of pregnancy.

Ploeger's review of research reveals that in the period between 20 and 40 days after fertilization, the embryo is highly susceptible to disruptions. During this period, there is a lot of interaction between the different parts of the body. If something goes wrong with a given part of the body, it greatly influences the development of other parts of the body.

People with schizophrenia and autism frequently have physical abnormalities to body parts formed during early organogenesis -- development of internal organs. Both autistics and schizophrenics sometimes have protruding ears and peculiar toes.

Ploeger also found autistic children were born in 4 percent of pregnancies in which softenon was ingested by mothers in the 1960s and 1970s to prevent morning sickness, whereas normally this figure is 0.1 percent. The women who had taken softenon between the 20th and 24th day of the pregnancy had the greatest chance of giving birth to an autistic child.

Ploeger advises women to stop risky behavior such as smoking, medicine use and stressful activities before they become pregnant.


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