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. 2012;2012:910946.
doi: 10.1155/2012/910946. Epub 2012 Jun 26.

Is Autism a Member of a Family of Diseases Resulting From Genetic/Cultural Mismatches? Implications for Treatment and Prevention

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Is Autism a Member of a Family of Diseases Resulting From Genetic/Cultural Mismatches? Implications for Treatment and Prevention

Staci D Bilbo et al. Autism Res Treat. .
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Several lines of evidence support the view that autism is a typical member of a large family of immune-related, noninfectious, chronic diseases associated with postindustrial society. This family of diseases includes a wide range of inflammatory, allergic, and autoimmune diseases and results from consequences of genetic/culture mismatches which profoundly destabilize the immune system. Principle among these consequences is depletion of important components, particularly helminths, from the ecosystem of the human body, the human biome. Autism shares a wide range of features in common with this family of diseases, including the contribution of genetics/epigenetics, the identification of disease-inducing triggers, the apparent role of immunity in pathogenesis, high prevalence, complex etiologies and manifestations, and potentially some aspects of epidemiology. Fortunately, using available resources and technology, modern medicine has the potential to effectively reconstitute the human biome, thus treating or even avoiding altogether the consequences of genetic/cultural mismatches which underpin this entire family of disease. Thus, if indeed autism is an epidemic of postindustrial society associated with immune hypersensitivity, we can expect that the disease is readily preventable.


Figure 1
Figure 1
The pathogenesis of epidemics of allergic, inflammatory, and autoimmune disease. Cultural mismatches with human biology (the pretherapeutic zone) have consequences that can be readily avoided (the optimal therapeutic zone). If biome depletion in particular is not avoided, the individual is left susceptible to a wide range of often complex immune-related diseases (the postoptimal therapeutic zone), sometimes associated with imbalances in metabolite transport and/or Phase I/Phase II metabolism. Other consequences such as vitamin D deficiency and uncontrolled stress may, in some but not all cases, add to the problem. Factors contributing to disease which are often naturally occurring and generally difficult or impossible to avoid are underlined and fit within the postoptimal therapeutic zone.

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