Showing posts with label Stress capacity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stress capacity. Show all posts

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Angelina Jolie or Destiny’s Child?

At the time of writing this post Angelina Jolie’s aunt has succumbed to the same cancer that killed Angelina’s mother and she announced that she also carried the same defective gene.  She opted to take pre-emptive action and, in effect, cheat a nasty early death from breast or ovarian cancer.

I have read so much research into autism, that it is pretty clear to me, that you could calculate an Autism Risk Factor (ARF) for prospective parents, if you really wanted to.  Would you really want to?  I expect those with direct experience of autism might be in favour, the others probably would not even bother to answer the question.  Since few truly autistic people have children, it is really more of a question for their siblings; do they want Destiny’s Child?

It may sound depressing, or something to do with eugenics, but actually it does not have to be.  I am not suggesting the sort of genetic and chromosome testing that is already routinely done for conditions like Down’s syndrome.  I am talking about the kind of lifestyle changes that ideally a woman who smokes, drinks heavily or takes drugs, should take when she wants to have a child.

If your ARF puts you at risk, then you would receive a list of lifestyle changes, you should take to minimize the risk to your future child.

Autism Risk Factor (ARF)

I am not qualified to develop the ARF, but I am confident enough to highlight two of the factors that should go into it:

1.     Maternal & paternal family history of autoimmune diseases

Auto-immune diseases including, but not limited to, history of type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease and hypothyroidism.  Here is some supporting evidence, for those who are interested:-


2.     Maternal & paternal stress capacity

This risk factor is my invention.  I used to only really think about mechanical stress, but now I know all about physiological stress, psychological stress and that big one, oxidative stress.  It seems, remarkably to me, that the latter three types of stress are in fact one and the same.

Put another way, physiological stress, psychological stress and oxidative stress are reflections of each other.  If you have got one, you will have all three.

The good news is that can use obvious visible cues to spot people will a low stress capacity and you could even then confirm it with a laboratory test of their oxidative stress (GSH redox level).

I recently took four short airplane flights and I observed people with chronic nail chewing (male) and obsessive nail filing (female) sitting beside or in front of me; it looks like about 5% of the flying population.  If you added the non-autistic people with mild stereotypy (stimming) like foot flapping, and those with Trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling, that we learned about in the posts on GSH/NAC) you would have a large proportion of those people living in some degree of potentially damaging oxidative stress.

I think the maternal stress capacity would be most relevant, but the fetus’s own stress capacity is also important, and some of that clearly comes from the paternal side.


So the conclusion for Ted, aged 12, is to grow up and find a nice calm girlfriend and buy a large supply of NAC, just in case.