Prevalence of autism in children born to Somali parents living in Sweden: A brief report

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Järva BUP, Stockholm, Sweden.
Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology (Impact Factor: 3.51). 09/2008; 50(8):598-601. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2008.03036.x
Source: PubMed


In a geographical area of Stockholm, with a relatively large Somali immigrant population, parents as well as teachers in special schools and staff at habilitation centres have raised concerns over whether children with a Somali background are over-represented in the total group of children with autism. The aim of the study was, therefore, to investigate the prevalence of autism in children with parents from Somalia, living in Stockholm county, and to compare the prevalence in children of Somali background with that in the non-Somali group. We reviewed the records of 17 children (13 males, four females), born between 1988 and 1998 (age range 7-17y) and with a Somali background, who had a diagnosis of autistic disorder or pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDDNOS) and were registered at either of the two autism habilitation centres for school-aged children. The prevalence of autistic disorder or PDDNOS was found to be three to four times higher than in the non-Somali group (0.7% vs 0.19%). All children also had learning disability.* Our findings warrant further investigations of possible aetiological factors behind the increased prevalence of autistic disorders in children of Somali origin found in this area in Sweden.


Available from: Martina Barnevik-Olsson, Aug 12, 2014
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    • "+veassoc in Somalis[77] & Africans [22] US -veassoc immigrant Hispanic vs non-immigrant Hispanics [78] +veassoc Mexican immigrants in California [52] Asian +veassoc in SE & NE Asians [17] [57]+veassoc in East Asians[76] "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Few common traits separate the mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder (autism) and intellectual disability (ID) from mothers in the general population. Objectives: * To review research on the pre-existing characteristics which differentiate mothers of children with autism and/or ID of unknown cause from each other and from mothers of children without these disabilities * To provide a source for research into the determinants of autism and/or ID, including the role of genetic and modifiable risk factors. Methods: The papers considered for this review resulted from a search of the Medline, Web of Knowledge, Scopus and Google scholar databases. Combinations of the search terms associated with autism and ID, the hypothesised aetiologies of autism and ID and terms associated with traits of mothers of children with autism and/or ID were used. Examples from each of the three groups are ‘autis*, pervasive development disorder* and intellectual disability’, immigra*, migra*, ethnic*, immun*’ and ‘traits, characteristics, mothers, children’. A paper was included in the review if: * It was published in a peer-reviewed journal between 1990 and 2012 inclusive; * It was a full text article in English; * It described new research; * It compared a characteristic of parents or mothers of children with ASD and/or ID with parents or mothers of children without disability or with a population norm; * It assessed characteristics that were pre-existing and not likely to be a result of caring for a child with ASD and/or ID; and * It used methods of ascertainment and measurement of the characteristic(s) of interest that were assessed as unlikely to lead to bias. Results: Overall, autism was correlated positively with socio-economic status (SES), education and age. By contrast, ID had a negative correlation with each of these variables. A reversal was also apparent with parity where lower parity was associated with the autism group and higher with the ID group. More complex associations were found with immigrant status and ethnicity. With the former, excluding Californian population studies, the children of immigrant mothers consistently were associated with increased rates of autism (particularly autism with ID) and lower rates of Mild or moderate ID (mild ID). A reverse scenario was found in California with a higher proportion of mild ID and a lower proportion of autism in the children of immigrant mothers. With ethnicity and with the exception of Asian mothers, there are lower rates of autism and increased rates of ID in the mothers of ethnic minority groups. Asian mothers exhibited an opposite trend. Further, compared to the ID group, many more traits were associated with the mothers of children with autism in the three areas related to immunology, mental health, pregnancy/childbirth and behavioural traits. Possible explanations for these findings are discussed. Conclusions: Further research in these areas may yield more understanding of the genetic and aetiological aspects of autism and ID. In turn, primary and secondary prevention strategies may be refined and/or developed.
    2014 International Meeting for Autism Research; 05/2014
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    • "Like Gillberg et al (1995) and Gillberg & Gillberg (1996) studies, Barnevick-Olson et al (2008) study was conducted outside African continent and also in Sweden. Barnevick-Olsson et al (2008) documented significantly higher prevalence of autism spectrum disorders among children of Somali parents living in Sweden compared to non-Somali group. Children of Somali parents living in Sweden were found to have a prevalence of 0.7% autism spectrum disorders compared with approximately 0.2% in non-Somali group. "

    A Comprehensive Book on Autism Spectrum Disorders, 09/2011; , ISBN: 978-953-307-494-8
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    • "Accordingly could different degrees of immune suppression, perhaps through combinations of vaccines (given singly or in a single multiple doses) or other factors, lead to genetic mutations, changes in the nature and extent of protein expression, and the subsequent development of autoimmune diseases such as IDDM? For example (i) children of Somali parents vaccinated according to typical western vaccination schedules have significantly greater rates of regressive autism[108]; (ii) the use of anti-oxidants to enhance immunity appears able to raise the response or immunity to viral infection[109–111]. It appears evident that the nature and extent of epigenetic influences upon gene and chromosome structure alter the body's function and leads to pathophysiologies of varying magnitude and significance. "
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    ABSTRACT: This article discusses factors which materially influence the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diabetes mellitus but which may be overlooked by the prevailing biomedical paradigm. That cognition can be mathematically linked to the function of the autonomic nervous system and physiological systems casts new light upon the mechanisms responsible for homeostasis and origins of disease. In particular, it highlights the limitations of the reductionist biomedical approach which considers mainly the biochemistry of single pathologies rather than considering the neural mechanisms which regulate the function of physiological systems, and inherent visceral organs; and which are subsequently manifest as biochemistries of varying degrees of complexity and severity. As a consequence, histopathological tests are fraught with inherent limitations and many categories of drugs are significantly ineffective. Such limitations may be explained if disease (in particular diabetes mellitus) has multiple origins, is multi-systemic in nature and, depending upon the characteristics of each pathology, is influenced by genotype and/or phenotype. This article highlights the influence of factors which are not yet considered re. the aetiology of diabetes mellitus e.g. the influence of light and sensory input upon the stability of the autonomic nervous system; the influence of raised plasma viscosity upon rates of reaction; the influence of viruses and/or of modified live viruses given in vaccinations; systemic instability, in particular the adverse influence of drinks and lack of exercise upon the body's prevailing pH and its subsequent influence upon levels of magnesium and other essential trace elements. This application of the top-down systems biology approach may provide a plausible and inclusive explanation for the nature and occurrence of diabetes mellitus.
    North American Journal of Medical Sciences 10/2010; 2(10):444-56. DOI:10.4297/najms.2010.2444
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