Prenatal and perinatal risk factors in a twin study of autism spectrum disorders

Wendy Froehlich-Santino, Amalia Londono Tobon, Sue Cleveland, Andrea Torres, Jennifer Phillips, Brianne Cohen, Tiffany Torigoe, Janet Miller, Angie Fedele, Jack Collins, Karen Smith, Linda Lotspeich, Lisa A. Croen, Sally J Ozonoff, Clara Lajonchere, Judith K. Grether, Ruth O'Hara, Joachim Hallmayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Multiple studies associate prenatal and perinatal complications with increased risks for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The objectives of this study were to utilize a twin study design to 1) Investigate whether shared gestational and perinatal factors increase concordance for ASDs in twins, 2) Determine whether individual neonatal factors are associated with the presence of ASDs in twins, and 3) Explore whether associated factors may influence males and females differently. Methods: Data from medical records and parent response questionnaires from 194 twin pairs, in which at least one twin had an ASD, were analyzed. Results: Shared factors including parental age, prenatal use of medications, uterine bleeding, and prematurity did not increase concordance risks for ASDs in twins. Among the individual factors, respiratory distress demonstrated the strongest association with increased risk for ASDs in the group as a whole (OR 2.11, 95% CI 1.27-3.51). Furthermore, respiratory distress (OR 2.29, 95% CI 1.12-4.67) and other markers of hypoxia (OR 1.99, 95% CI 1.04-3.80) were associated with increased risks for ASDs in males, while jaundice was associated with an increased risk for ASDs in females (OR 2.94, 95% CI 1.28-6.74). Conclusions: Perinatal factors associated with respiratory distress and other markers of hypoxia appear to increase risk for autism in a subgroup of twins. Future studies examining potential gender differences and additional prenatal, perinatal and postnatal environmental factors are required for elucidating the etiology of ASDs and suggesting new methods for treatment and prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-108
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Volume54
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Environment
  • Perinatal
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Prenatal
  • Twins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Medicine(all)

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    Froehlich-Santino, W., Londono Tobon, A., Cleveland, S., Torres, A., Phillips, J., Cohen, B., Torigoe, T., Miller, J., Fedele, A., Collins, J., Smith, K., Lotspeich, L., Croen, L. A., Ozonoff, S. J., Lajonchere, C., Grether, J. K., O'Hara, R., & Hallmayer, J. (2014). Prenatal and perinatal risk factors in a twin study of autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 54(1), 100-108. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.03.019