Podcast: Resilience and heterogeneity in ASD

Everyone knows that every person with autism has their own unique strengths and challenges. Autism is heritable, and there are over 100 genes associated with autism. There are also an unknown number of environmental factors influencing outcome, so the heterogeneity is not necessarily surprising. But why would two people with the same genetic mutation have variable outcomes? Researchers led by the Institut Pasteur in France looked at the range of outcomes in people with a rare genetic mutation associated with autism, focusing on those without an autism diagnosis. This week’s podcast is an interview with the lead author of the paper, Thomas Rolland, PhD from France. The presence of the variants in those without ASD were associated with lowered cognitive ability, education level and employment status. The bottom line of these finds are that genes affect proteins which form the brain and control brain function. However, there are multiple factors that influence outcome. Some of them may be sex or gender, prenatal exposures. It’s not just one thing, there are many things influencing an autism diagnosis.




Dr. Alycia Halladay