Dr. John Shoffner, an associate professor at Georgia State University presented findings from a retrospective analysis he did on 37 kids with autism. He found one in five kids on the autism spectrum have mitochondrial defects, meaning the muscles don't get the energy they need.
Dr. Shoffner is quoted in the Washington Post: "If you're talking about 20
percent of kids with autism, that's a whole lot of children, and may represent
an important segment of the autism spectrum disorder population. And we may be
getting a foothold into the underlying cause of autism spectrum disorders," he
said, adding, "This is a really important step forward that lets us put effort
into understanding the mechanisms of disease."
Of the kids in Shoffner's analysis, 65% showed mitochondrial defects. Shoffner said it's not fair to say 65% of kids with autism have the defect because the kids he studied had been referred to him because their doctors suspected something else was wrong.
Here's the full story from the Washington Post.
Remember Hannah Poling, the nine-year-old girl from Georgia who has autism and mitochondrial defects? The Court of Federal Claims conceded that her pre-existing mitochondrial disorder was aggravated by her immunization shots, and that her rare condition lead to her having autism-like symptoms. Dr Shoffner's analysis is bound to stir up some more talk on this issue. What does it mean if Hannah's "rare" condition isn't so rare? And Does mitochrondrial disease play a role in the development of autism?