Autism May Have Come From Ancestors, Scientists Say

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Scientists from the University of Utah recently concluded that one’s ancestors—particularly where and when one’s grandparents and their children were born—may contribute to an increased risk of autism.

Recently published in the International Journal of Health Geographics, the study reveals that ancestors’ genetics carry a significant risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)—with the strongest signal identified from the birth and childhood of paternal grandparents.

Paternal grandparents’ nutrition in childhood, for instance, directly impacts health outcomes in grandchildren.

“Looking back at families and where and when they lived helped us detect clusters of individuals who seem to have a higher subsequent risk of autism among their descendants,” senior author and environmental epidemiologist James VanDerslice from the University of Utah said.

The researchers identified information from 7,900 parents and 31,600 grandparents of autistic children born between 1989 and 2014 based on geographic and population data of families …

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