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Prenatal and perinatal risk factors and the clinical implications on autism spectrum disorder.

Autism. 2018 Jun 01;:1362361318772813

Authors: Chien YL, Chou MC, Chou WJ, Wu YY, Tsai WC, Chiu YN, Gau SS

Abstract
Prenatal and perinatal factors may increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder. However, little is known about whether unaffected siblings of probands with autism spectrum disorder also share the phenomenon and whether the prenatal/perinatal factors are related to the clinical severity of autistic symptoms. We compared the frequency of prenatal and perinatal factors among 323 probands with autism spectrum disorder (mean age ± standard deviation, 10.7 ± 3.5 years; males, 91.0%), 257 unaffected siblings (11.7 ± 4.5; 42.8%), and 1504 typically developing controls (8.9 ± 1.6 years; 53.1%); and investigated their effects on the severity of autistic symptoms. We found that probands with autism spectrum disorder and their unaffected siblings had more prenatal/perinatal events than typically developing controls with higher numbers of prenatal/perinatal factors in probands than in unaffected siblings. The prenatal/perinatal events were associated with greater stereotyped behaviors, social-emotional problems, socio-communication deficits, and overall severity. We also found that six prenatal/perinatal factors (i.e. preeclampsia, polyhydramnios, oligoamnios, placenta previa, umbilical cord knot, and gestational diabetes) were associated with the severity of autistic symptoms, particularly stereotyped behaviors and socio-communication deficits. Our findings suggest that prenatal and perinatal factors may potentially moderate the clinical expression of autism spectrum disorder. The underlying mechanism warrants further research.

PMID: 29950101 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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