Possible link between autism and diabetes

THE chances are you have already heard the statistics. Gestational diabetes is on the rise, and so is autism. But according to Rice University’s Professor Michael Stern, the coinciding escalations of these two diseases may not be merely coincidental. 

In fact, Professor Stern has a theory that the two conditions share the same underlying mechanism. 

As described in an opinion piece in the October issue of Frontiers in Cellular Endocrinology, Professor Stern believes that if there is a true increase in the incidence of autism – rather than just an increase in awareness of the disease, or a broadening of diagnostic criteria – it could be due to the rise of glucose intolerance and hyper­insulinaemia in the general population.

Professor Stern’s lab has been involved in studying the genetic interactions associated with certain genetic diseases, such as neuro­fibromatosis. The lab has also conducted research into

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