g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
News & Politics
Religion & Spirituality
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

Bored? Games!
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

Autism Spectrum Disorders
Mental Health
Blogs / Social Networking
Kidney Disease
Today in History

All times in EST

Full Schedule
g Twins Site

BellaOnline's Twins Editor


Twins and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Guest Author - Kris Bigalk

Two studies, one in the United States (done by David Greenberg, a geneticist at Columbia University in New York) and other in Britain (done by Christopher Gillberg of St George's Hospital Medical School in London), found a higher rate of autism among twins. The rate of autism in identical twins was 12 – 14 times that of the general population, and the rate of autism in fraternal twins was about 4 times higher than the general population. Another study presented at a conference in Boston in 2005 postulated that birth month greatly affects the chances of twins suffering from autism with twins born in January having an 80% higher chance of developing the disorder than twins born in December.

While this information may seem scary at first, it's important to note two things: most of these studies relied on small samples groups, which may not provide the most reliable information. Also, the Columbia study limited itself to twins with siblings with autism, which has been identified as a risk factor for developing the disorder, and may have skewed the results. Finally, most twins will not suffer from autistic disorders, and even if one twin does develop autism, there is no guarantee that the other will develop it as well (even amongst identical twins). One mother of twins kept a daily diary on her fraternal twins' development; through this diary, one can see signs of autism in one of the twins dating from six months of age. Now twelve years old, one twin is autistic, and the other is unaffected. However, the mother's documentation of the twins development opened the eyes of researchers and parents as to the pervasiveness of this disorder, and the possibility that it can be identified much earlier than previously thought.

For years, scientists, parents, and doctors have debated the causes of autism. At first, twin studies seemed to point to a genetic cause for the disease; however, the increased risk amongst fraternal twins (though not as high as that of identicals) seems to indicate that perhaps something about being a twin could also be a factor. This means that environmental factors in the womb, placental development, or even the experience of being raised with a same-age sibling could have some triggering effect for autism.

Some authorities estimate that the incidence of autistic disorders has increased over 172% since 1990. Others argue that the incidence of autism has remained static, but our ability to identify and assist autistic children has improved. For more information on the studies cited in this article, and to access information on having twins assessed for autism, see the links below:
Excess of Twins among Affected Sibling Pairs with Autism: Implications for the Etiology of Autism David A. Greenberg, Susan E. Hodge, Janice Sowinski, and Doug Nicoll from The American Journal of Human Genetics

Increased Rate of Twins among Affected Sibling Pairs with Autism
Catalina Betancur, Marion Leboyer, and Christopher Gillberg
from The American Journal of Human Genetics

AWARES article on Boston Autism Conference

Smile for the Camera—and for science (article about mom who kept twin diary) from the age.com.au

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) from Autismweb http://www.autismweb.com/signs.htm

This site needs an editor - click to learn more!

Add Twins+and+Autism+Spectrum+Disorders to Twitter Add Twins+and+Autism+Spectrum+Disorders to Facebook Add Twins+and+Autism+Spectrum+Disorders to MySpace Add Twins+and+Autism+Spectrum+Disorders to Del.icio.us Digg Twins+and+Autism+Spectrum+Disorders Add Twins+and+Autism+Spectrum+Disorders to Yahoo My Web Add Twins+and+Autism+Spectrum+Disorders to Google Bookmarks Add Twins+and+Autism+Spectrum+Disorders to Stumbleupon Add Twins+and+Autism+Spectrum+Disorders to Reddit

RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map

For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Twins Newsletter

Past Issues

Printer Friendly
tell friend
Tell a Friend
Email Editor

Content copyright © 2015 by Kris Bigalk. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Kris Bigalk. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.


g features
Comparing Your Twins

Twin Toddler Sleep Tips

Twins and Homework

Archives | Site Map


Past Issues

Less than Monthly

BellaOnline on Facebook

| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2015 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.

BellaOnline Editor