Are Prenatal Ultrasound Scans Associated with the Autism Phenotype? Follow-up of a Randomised Controlled Trial
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An existing randomised controlled trial was used to investigate whether multiple ultrasound scans may be associated with the autism phenotype. From 2,834 single pregnancies, 1,415 were selected at random to receive ultrasound imaging and continuous wave Doppler flow studies at five points throughout pregnancy (Intensive) and 1,419 to receive a single imaging scan at 18 weeks (Regular), with further scans only as indicated on clinical grounds. There was no significant difference in the rate of Autism Spectrum Disorder between the Regular (9/1,125, 0.8 %) and Intensive (7/1,167, 0.6 %) groups, nor a difference between groups in the level of autistic-like traits in early adulthood. There is no clear link between the frequency and timing of prenatal ultrasound scans and the autism phenotype.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder Autism Prenatal Ultrasonography Obstetric Environment
The authors would like to acknowledge the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for their long term contribution to funding the study over the last 20 years. Core Management of the Raine study has been funded by the University of Western Australia (UWA), Curtin University, the UWA Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, the Raine Medical Research Foundation, the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, and the Women’s and Infants Research Foundation. Funding from Australian Rotary Health was used for the steroid analysis. AJOW (#1004065) is funded by a Career Development Fellowship from the NHMRC (#1004065). This study was partly funded by NHMRC Project Grant #1003424. These funders had no further role in study design, analysis, data interpretation or manuscript writing and submission. The authors are extremely grateful to all of the families who took part in this study and the whole Raine Study team, which includes data collectors, cohort managers, data managers, clerical staff, scientists and volunteers.
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