Autism and schizophrenia appear to have little in common. The two illnesses are caused by defects in the same set of genes, though, Canadian researchers claim.
The research group, led by evolutionary biologist Bernard Crispi, now believes that the two illnesses are linked. Crispi sees them as opposite expressions of the same genetic problem.
This finding opens the door to the possibility that treatments which are effective for one disorder can be used to help the other.
Autism is already understood as a a spectrum of related disorders. One of its milder forms, Asperger’s Syndrome, has been getting a lot of press recently as a woman with Apserger’s Syndrome made waves on America’s Next Top Model and movies like Adam have centered on autistic characters.
Many individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome can live independently, while other autistic conditions can be severe lifelong disabilities.
A new book, Quirky Yes, Hopeless No, offers readers some insight into Autism, particularly Asperger’s Syndrome. The author’s talked with Breezy Mama recently and stressed that autism is unique in each individual who experiences it.
They were especially interested in debunking the myth that autism always leads to a life of isolation and disability. On the other end of the spectrum, however, a recent study claiming a link between autism and extraordinary intellectual ability has been roundly criticized.
Autistic kids are probably neither doomed nor amazingly gifted; they’re just quirky kids with real challenges who need some special parenting and educational resources.
For parents waiting desperately for a cure, the news that autism is genetically linked to schizophrenia might be a relief. New information means new avenues for research, and the possibility of new treatments for both illnesses.
Photo: Jason Meredith