The Role of Prenatal, Obstetric and Neonatal Factors in the Development of Autism
- 1.9k Downloads
We conducted a linked database cohort study of infants born between 1990 and 2002 in Nova Scotia, Canada. Diagnoses of autism were identified from administrative databases with relevant diagnostic information to 2005. A factor representing genetic susceptibility was defined as having an affected sibling or a mother with a history of a psychiatric or neurologic condition. Among 129,733 children, there were 924 children with an autism diagnosis. The results suggest that among those with low genetic susceptibility, some maternal and obstetric factors may have an independent role in autism etiology whereas among genetically susceptible children, these factors appear to play a lesser role. The role of pre-pregnancy obesity and excessive weight gain during pregnancy on autism risk require further investigation.
KeywordsAutism Cohort Prenatal Pregnancy Neonatal Epidemiology
The authors thank the Reproductive Care Program of Nova Scotia and the Population Health Research Unit at Dalhousie University for facilitating access to the data and Anne Spencer for help with data analysis. This study was funded by a grant from the Cure Autism Now Foundation (now Autism Speaks). Although this research is based in part on data obtained from the Population Health Research Unit, the observations and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent those of the Population Health Research Unit.
- Ashwood, P., Kwong, C., Hansen, R., Hertz-Picciotto, I., Croen, L., Krakowiak, P., et al. (2008). Brief report: Plasma leptin levels are elevated in autism: Association with early onset phenotype? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(1), 169–175. doi: 10.1007/s10803-006-0353-1.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bryson, S. E., & Smith, I. M. (1998). Epidemiology of autism: Prevalence, associated characteristics, and implications for research and service delivery. MRDD Research Reviews, 4, 97–103.Google Scholar
- Curtin, C., Bandini, L. G., Perrin, E. C., Tybor, D. J., & Must, A. (2005). Prevalence of overweight in children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorders: A chart review. BMC Pediatrics, 5, 48. doi: 10.1186/1471-2431-5-48.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Deykin, E. Y., & MacMahon, B. (1980). Pregnancy, delivery, and neonatal complications among autistic children. American Journal of Diseases of Children (1960), 134(9), 860–864.Google Scholar
- Fair, M., Cyr, M., Allen, A., Wen, S., Guyon, G., & Macdonald, R. (1999). Validation study for a record linkage of births and infant deaths in Canada (Catalogue No) (84F0013XIE ed.). Ottawa: Statistics Canada.Google Scholar
- Fair, M., Cyr, M., Allen, A. C., Wen, S. W., Guyon, G., & MacDonald, R. C. (2000). An assessment of the validity of a computer system for probabilistic record linkage of birth and infant death records in Canada the fetal and infant health study group. Chronic Diseases in Canada, 21(1), 8–13.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Hultman, C. M., Sparen, P., & Cnattingius, S. (2002). Perinatal risk factors for infantile autism. Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass), 13(4), 417–423.Google Scholar
- Larsson, H. J., Eaton, W. W., Madsen, K. M., Vestergaard, M., Olesen, A. V., Agerbo, E., Schendel, D., Thorsen, P., & Mortensen, P. B. (2005). Risk factors for autism: Perinatal factors, parental psychiatric history, and socioeconomic status. American Journal of Epidemiology, 161(10), 916–925; discussion 926–928. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwi123.Google Scholar
- Leonard, H., de Klerk, N., Bourke, J., & Bower, C. (2005). Maternal health in pregnancy and intellectual disability in the offspring: A population-based study. Annals of Epidemiology. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2005.05.002.
- Schultz, S. T., Klonoff-Cohen, H. S., Wingard, D. L., Akshoomoff, N. A., Macera, C. A., Ji, M., et al. (2006). Breastfeeding, infant formula supplementation, and autistic disorder: The results of a parent survey. International Breastfeeding Journal, 1, 16. doi: 10.1186/1746-4358-1-16.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Vanasse, A., Demers, M., Hemiari, A., & Courteau, J. (2006). Obesity in Canada: Where and how many? International Journal of Obesity (2005), 30(4), 677–683. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803168.
- Zwaigenbaum, L., Szatmari, P., Jones, M. B., Bryson, S. E., MacLean, J. E., Mahoney, W. J., et al. (2002). Pregnancy and birth complications in autism and liability to the broader autism phenotype. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 41(5), 572–579.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar