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Thu Jul 25, 2013, 11:37 AM

Mother's quest could help solve autism mystery

San Francisco Chronicle / July 24, 2013

This copyrighted story describes the efforts of Jill Escher, the mother of two autistic children, and her quest to discover what "could have gone wrong." Three years ago, explains the article, she discovered her mother had sought help conceiving at a fertility clinic. From the story:

As she grew in her mother's womb, Escher was bombarded with synthetic hormones and other drugs.

Scientists know that some chemicals can alter developing embryos and fetuses, which can lead to disease later in life.

But in recent years, they've learned that the damage doesn't necessarily stop there. Something a pregnant woman is exposed to may alter not just her children but also her grandchildren and perhaps all subsequent generations.

This is how the "germ line" hypothesis works: Cells in what is called a germ line form eggs in the female fetus and precursors to sperm in the male fetus. The germ line establishes an unbroken link from generation to generation. But when a pregnant woman is exposed to chemicals, the germ line may be altered. That would mean that eggs developing in the fetus, the future third generation, could be changed, leading to abnormalities or disease.


LINK: http://www.sfchronicle.com/health/article/Mother-s-quest-could-help-solve-autism-mystery-4682498.php (subsctription may be necessary)

The story specifically mentions a synthetic estrogen called DES, or diethylstilbestrol. It was prescribed to up to 10 million women from 1938 to 1971 in efforts to prevent miscarriage and premature birth. According to the article, a single womb exposure could induce defects that could be transmitted to the next two generations.

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Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply Mother's quest could help solve autism mystery (Original post)
Auggie Jul 2013 OP
Demeter Jul 2013 #1
Auggie Jul 2013 #2
dixiegrrrrl Jul 2013 #3
Auggie Jul 2013 #4
truedelphi Sep 2013 #5
SheilaT Sep 2013 #6
Auggie Sep 2013 #7

Response to Auggie (Original post)

Thu Jul 25, 2013, 11:58 AM

1. Profoundly Unlikely as a Cause

 

when you can see a familial pattern, back to generations before a drug appeared, you don't need to add a spurious point of blame.

Modern society concentrates those genes by the rigidity of school and employment, like marries like and procreates, genetic tendencies compound.

The fault, my dear Brutus, lies not in our environment, but in ourselves, and the way society has eliminated a lot of the work for which we are well-suited.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 25, 2013, 12:23 PM

2. "The science of epigenetics is new ..."

according to FDA spokeswoman Andrea Fischer, who is quoted in the article.

This warrants a full study. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss until all the facts are in, Demeter.

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Response to Auggie (Original post)

Thu Jul 25, 2013, 01:17 PM

3. It says here:

2011:
Women Exposed to Synthetic Estrogen Diethylstilbestrol (DES) in the Womb Face Increased Cancer Risk, Study Finds
In the late 1960s, an unusual occurrence of a rare cancer of the vagina among young women, called clear cell adenocarcinoma (CCA), was observed and subsequently linked to their exposure to DES while in the womb.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111005172649.htm

Increased risks of clear cell adenocarcinoma of the vagina and cervix and of breast cancer have been found for daughters of women who took DES during pregnancy; fertility problems are also more common among these daughters.
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/DES

So various tests for several years seem to be finding that indeed, grandchildren are affected.





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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #3)

Thu Jul 25, 2013, 01:31 PM

4. Thanks dixiegrrrrl

I recall my mother telling me she didn't take prescription drugs, or those sold OTC, during her pregnancy with me or my brother. I'll have to thank her for that.

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Response to Auggie (Original post)

Tue Sep 17, 2013, 10:40 PM

5. I want to mention something many people don't know:

The human beings' knowledge of their own immune system is brand new.

I had a discussion with Stanford medical doctors back in the early 1980's, and they kept telling me that there was not a lot of information out there regarding "immune disorders" as there had been no massive influx of governmental monies to study the immune system. So it remained a mystery.

Then AIDS reared its nasty head. And suddenly, there was money galore for studying the immune system.

So I would say that as far as the fertility drugs being a factor in some cases of autism, it's worth exploring. We have taken significant steps regarding the immune system, but we are only in the third decade of doing so.

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Response to Auggie (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 02:03 AM

6. For what it's worth

 

I have a son with autism. Asperger's, to be specific. But I took no chemicals of any kind while pregnant. Indeed, when I broke an ankle at 7 1/2 months, I did without pain relief. Not fun.

Still, he came out with autism.

His younger son is beyond normal. Second son is a social genius, gets along very well with others. The two could not be more different if you planned it that way.

Sometimes autism happens.

Oh, and the autistic older son is one of the most amazing people I have ever known. So is his brother, but maybe that's just the mom speaking.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #6)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 08:44 AM

7. Hi SheilaT

At issue in this thread are not chemicals you may have ingested but those ingested by your mother when she was pregnant with you, specifically, a synthetic estrogen called DES, or diethylstilbestrol.

A single womb exposure could induce defects that could be transmitted to the next two generations.


Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype, caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence—hence the name epi- (Greek: επί- over, above, outer) -genetics. Some of these changes have been shown to be heritable.

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics

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