The emergence of autism in young children appears to result from dysmyelination of brain neurons, related to inadequate supply of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) in the newborn. This report is intended to bring together relevant observations from prior research to develop a new, innovative hypothesis to elucidate the mechanism underlying autism development. The deficiency of IGF in affected infants may be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors yet to be determined. If this hypothesis is correct, breastfeeding in particular could increase IGF levels, thereby compensating for an inborn deficiency of the growth factor.
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