Could our evolutionary novel environment be disrupting the human superorganism?
August 27, 2012 1:46 AM Subscribe
Is autism an autoimmune disorder?
posted by bookman117 (44 comments total)
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"The prevalence of inflammatory diseases in general has increased significantly in the past 60 years. As a group, they include asthma, now estimated to affect 1 in 10 children — at least double the prevalence of 1980 — and autoimmune disorders, which afflict 1 in 20.
Both are linked to autism, especially in the mother. One large Danish study, which included nearly 700,000 births over a decade, found that a mother’s rheumatoid arthritis, a degenerative disease of the joints, elevated a child’s risk of autism by 80 percent. Her celiac disease, an inflammatory disease prompted by proteins in wheat and other grains, increased it 350 percent. Genetic studies tell a similar tale. Gene variants associated with autoimmune disease — genes of the immune system — also increase the risk of autism, especially when they occur in the mother."
See also economist article
on the idea of a human "superorganism" which consists of a human host with lots of smaller organisms living within and playing essential symbiotic roles.