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Biomedical Issues in Autism - Speech or Presentation Example

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Instructor Date Biomedical Issues in Autism Introduction Autism, which is often considered a disorder of mind, presents as a challenge not only to the parents but also to the society as a whole. Characterized by difficulties in social interaction, communication difficulties, and an inclination towards performing repetitive actions, the ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) pose a considerable challenge for parents of affected children…
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Biomedical Issues in Autism
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Download file to see previous pages Of special interest is the toxicological perspective which is, to some extent, also related to environmental factors. One important aspect is the role of environmental toxicities that can initiate or aggravate autistic symptoms in predisposed individuals. Etiologically speaking, certain metabolic abnormalities have been blamed to play a central role towards development of autism. This is manifested by the increased incidence of inflammatory disorders of the gastrointestinal system noted in autistic children. Such metabolic differences have been investigated in various studies, and it has been suggested that it is highly likely that other metabolic inefficiencies of this type render autistic individuals unable to cope with toxicities prevailing in the immediate environment of such individuals. These disorders of metabolism, therefore, contribute towards the development of autism in individuals by limiting their ability to overcome the metabolic challenges posed by the environmental toxicities. A major toxicity that has been studied in this regard is the presence of excess amounts of mercury in the environment of those who develop this condition. Review of Current Literature Although mercury is considered to be present in trace amounts in our environment, there are points in the mercury cycle where its interaction with life forms becomes significant enough to be considered as a contributor of disease. Once it is converted into methylmercury, it becomes volatile and soluble enough to get bio-accumulated in food chains (Utah.Gov). Mercury has been identified to be a neuro-toxin, and causes defects in memory, cognitive thinking, language, visual ability, and motor skills. These manifestations are more marked in developing brains. Common sources of exposure to mercury include food (fish etc.), dental amalgam, batteries, coal, and medical products including vaccines. There have been heated debates about the link between mercury and autism, and it appears that the vast majority of studies which deny such linkage are carried out under the influence of those who have a vested interest in promoting the concept of mercury being safe for human consumption. The reason for this claim is the fact that sufficient evidence exists to support a link between the two (DeSoto and Robert 165). Studies conducted to evaluate the level of mercury in hair and nail samples of autistic individuals have also pointed out that mercury can possibly act as a causative or contributive factor. The level of mercury in these tissues is considerably higher in autistic individuals as compared to their healthy counterparts (Priya and Arumugam 148). The notion that altered metabolic processes contribute towards the pathogenesis of autism due to mercury poisoning has been supported by research work. Of considerable importance is the observation that adverse reactions and abnormal development in autistic individuals correlate closely to their exposure to vaccines containing mercury as their constituent element. Higher levels of mercury in autistic individuals may be attributed to a different or defective pattern of metabolism in these individuals (Majewska et al. 196). Studies designed to seek a relationship between elevated levels of mercury in blood and the presence of autism have found a positive ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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