Why Autism Studies Lean More Toward Males

Subject: Psychiatry
Pages: 2
Words: 286
Reading time:
< 1 min

A number of authors agree that there is no definite agreeable cause of autism. However, research has shown that our genetic composition plays a great role in determining the chances of developing that condition that affects development in certain areas of our lives. This is supported by the fact that chances of identical twins having the same condition are higher at 63-90%, while for fraternal twins and siblings is less than 10%.

As such, research is more bent on finding the link between our genetic composition and autism, hoping that it will deliver the final answer. Increased research is thus being encouraged. For example, in 2005, the BBC reported that cases of autism had increased tenfold in the UK alone, thus calling for more urgency in finding a cause and a possible cure for the disorder. With males forming the higher percentages in prevalence, researchers are also concerned about the environmental predisposing factors to men that could contribute to the high occurrence rates. This is, according to Miranda, being pursued via two avenues.

One is on the male parents’ environmental disposition that could contribute to the mutation of genes that will be passed on to male offspring. The other route is on whether male fetuses have higher reaction levels when exposed to certain environments as presented by their mothers during pregnancy. One researcher Dr. Andrew Wakefield, in 1998, suggested that autism could be triggered by the MMR vaccine, and such males were more susceptible than females. On the other hand, with the prevalence of autism being higher in males than in females, it would be expected that males will constitute the larger specimen group.