Risk Factors for Autism: Perinatal Factors, Parental Psychiatric History, and Socioeconomic Status

North Atlantic Neuro-Epidemiology Alliances, Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark.
American Journal of Epidemiology (Impact Factor: 5.23). 05/2005; 161(10):916-25; discussion 926-8. DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwi123
Source: PubMed


Research suggests that heredity and early fetal development play a causal role in autism. This case-control study explored the association between perinatal factors, parental psychiatric history, socioeconomic status, and risk of autism. The study was nested within a cohort of all children born in Denmark after 1972 and at risk of being diagnosed with autism until December 1999. Prospectively recorded data were obtained from nationwide registries in Denmark. Cases totaled 698 children with a diagnosis of autism; each case was individually matched by gender, birth year, and age to 25 controls. Analyses by conditional logistic regression produced risk ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Adjusted analyses showed that the risk of autism was associated with breech presentation (risk ratio (RR) = 1.63, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.18, 2.26), low Apgar score at 5 minutes (RR = 1.89, 95% CI: 1.10, 3.27), gestational age at birth <35 weeks (RR = 2.45, 95% CI: 1.55, 3.86), and parental psychiatric history (schizophrenia-like psychosis: RR = 3.44, 95% CI: 1.48, 7.95; affective disorder: RR = 2.91, 95% CI: 1.65, 5.14). Analyses showed no statistically significant association between risk of autism and weight for gestational age, parity, number of antenatal visits, parental age, or socioeconomic status. Results suggest that prenatal environmental factors and parental psychopathology are associated with the risk of autism. These factors seem to act independently.

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    • "Research has provided some evidence with the finding that women taking antidepressant (Croen et al. 2011) or anticonvulsant medication (Christensen et al. 2013; Maimburg and Vaeth 2006) during pregnancy were more likely to have a child with ASD. Others have suggested that the children of parents with a psychiatric disorder might be more likely to be diagnosed with ASD than the children of other parents because of the closer contact of the former group with diagnosticians (Larsson et al. 2005). Furthermore, women with a psychiatric disorder may have lower levels of self-care than other women (Lawrence et al. 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Psychiatric disorders are more common in the mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or intellectual disability (ID) after the birth of their child. We aimed to assess the relationship between women's psychiatric contacts and subsequent offspring with ASD/ID. We linked three Western Australian registers to investigate pre-existing maternal outpatient psychiatric contacts and the odds of ASD/ID in a subsequent child. Women with a previous outpatient psychiatric contact were more than twice as likely to have a child with ASD [OR 2.07 (95 % CI 1.7, 2.6)] or ID [OR 2.31 (2.1, 2.6)]. Further research exploring the effect on pregnancy outcomes of medications prescribed to women with psychiatric disorders is implicated.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 09/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10803-015-2594-3 · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    • "Selvin, 2002; Hertz-Picciotto et al., 2006; Hultman, Sparén, & Cnattingius, 2002; Just, Keller, Malave, Kana, & Varma, 2012; Kolevzon, Gross, & Reichenberg, 2007; Larsson et al., 2005; Lyall, Pauls, Santangelo, Spiegelman, & Ascherio, 2011; Matsuzaki, Iwata, Manabe, & Mori, 2012). It would be prudent to explore what exposure(s) may coincide with the increase in ASD. "
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    • "There are some important genetic links between neurodegenerative and neurobehavioral diseases, but the genetic changes that occur and the changes in gene expression that have been found in these diseases are complex and are not directly related to simple genetic alterations [2] [3] [4]. In addition, chronic viral infections, nutritional deficiencies, exposure to environmental toxins such as heavy metals, autoimmune responses, vascular diseases, head trauma, accumulation of fluid in the brain, and changes in neurotransmitter concentrations are reported to be involved in the pathogenesis of various neurodegenerative and neurobehavioral diseases [2] [3] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]. Because viral infections are usually spread systemically, they can enter the immune and other organ systems, which results in a variety of symptoms [10]. "
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