Autism and Cancer Connection Contradicts

Contradictions are a rare and intriguing concept in the world of science. A recent study in autism research came up with conclusions about autism’s connection to Cancer, but they also puzzled the scientists.

Even though people with autism have an increased count of mutated genes that could cause cancer, they also have a dwindling cancer rate.

The increased amount of mutations was found by researchers from the University of Iowa, who compared a control set to public genome databases. This analysis showed that people on the autism spectrum have a larger rate of DNA variation, which heightens the possibility of cancer.

After looking at the electronic medical records of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the researchers realized that patients with ASD are less likely to be diagnosed with cancer than patients that have other disorders or conditions.

Benjamin Darbro, the study team leader and assistant professor of medical genetics in the UI Carver College of Medicine, was surprised by the nearly contradicting results.

“It’s a very provocative result that makes sense on one level and is extremely perplexing on another,” Darbro said. “The overlap in genes between those known to promote cancer and those implicated in syndromic neurodevelopmental disorders is not new, but what we’ve shown is that this overlap is much broader at the genetic level than previously known and that somehow it may translate into a lower risk of cancer.”

The studies found that 1.3 percent of patients with ASD also have cancer, as opposed to the higher rate of 3.9 percent in the control set of patients. Children on the spectrum under the age 14 had a 94 percent less chance of being diagnosed with cancer than those without autism. This describes a protective affect that the researchers believe autism has on the mutated gene that could lead to cancer.


For more information, check out the source for this post, Press-Citizen.

By Nichole Caropolo

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