A recent study at Duke University reveals what a genetic engineer says is proof that autism is contracted after birth, not before.
There has been an ongoing clash of ideas regarding the cause of autism: one camp suggesting children are born with it and a second camp contending they are not, that it develops after they are born.
Dr. Theresa Deisher of Sound Pharmaceutical Institute points to a fresh development in the debate – one she finds promising.
"A recent clinical study was conducted at Duke University where they treated children with autism spectrum disorder [ASD] with their own banked umbilical cord blood," Deisher explains.
More than half (56%) of autism patients treated showed improvement after their own umbilical cord blood was infused. However, what is missing in the report – according to Deisher – is that it demonstrates evidence that autism is a disease that is contracted after birth, not before.
"That's the critical importance of the study that gets missed," Deisher says. "If these children were born with autism, then their own umbilical cord blood would not have helped them."
Deisher – whose career has focused on discovering and developing new therapies for grievous human illness – believes research now should be directed toward environmental (post-birth) factors causing autism.
While not magnifying the results of the Duke research, Deisher considers it to be an important breakthrough for parents of autistic children because it offers hope for a treatment being developed to help their children.