Project description:Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may present with multiple medical conditions in addition to ASD symptoms. This study investigated whether there are predictive patterns of medical conditions that co-occur with ASD, which could inform medical evaluation and treatment in ASD, as well as potentially identify etiologically meaningful subgroups. Medical history data were queried in the multiplex family Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE). Fourteen medical conditions were analyzed. Replication in the Simons Simplex Collection (SSC) was attempted using available medical condition data on gastrointestinal disturbances (GID), sleep problems, allergy and epilepsy. In the AGRE cohort, no discrete clusters emerged among 14 medical conditions. GID and seizures were enriched in unaffected family members, and together with sleep problems, were represented in both AGRE and SSC. Further analysis of these medical conditions identified predictive co-occurring patterns in both samples. For a child with ASD, the presence of GID predicts sleep problems and vice versa, with an approximately 2-fold odds ratio in each direction. These risk patterns were replicated in the SSC sample, and in addition, there was increased risk for seizures and sleep problems to co-occur with GID. In these cohorts, seizure alone was not predictive of the other conditions co-occurring, but behavioral impairments were more severe as the number of co-occurring medical symptoms increased. These findings indicate that interdisciplinary clinical care for children with ASD will benefit from evaluation for specific patterns of medical conditions in the affected child and their family members.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Previous reports indicate an association between autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and disorders of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. One study suggested that children with both diagnoses are clinically indistinguishable from children with idiopathic autism. There are, however, no detailed analyses of the clinical and laboratory findings in a large cohort of these children. Therefore, we undertook a comprehensive review of patients with ASD and a mitochondrial disorder. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:We reviewed medical records of 25 patients with a primary diagnosis of ASD by DSM-IV-TR criteria, later determined to have enzyme- or mutation-defined mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) dysfunction. Twenty-four of 25 patients had one or more major clinical abnormalities uncommon in idiopathic autism. Twenty-one patients had histories of significant non-neurological medical problems. Nineteen patients exhibited constitutional symptoms, especially excessive fatigability. Fifteen patients had abnormal neurological findings. Unusual developmental phenotypes included marked delay in early gross motor milestones (32%) and unusual patterns of regression (40%). Levels of blood lactate, plasma alanine, and serum ALT and/or AST were increased at least once in 76%, 36%, and 52% of patients, respectively. The most common ETC disorders were deficiencies of complex I (64%) and complex III (20%). Two patients had rare mtDNA mutations of likely pathogenicity. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Although all patients' initial diagnosis was idiopathic autism, careful clinical and biochemical assessment identified clinical findings that differentiated them from children with idiopathic autism. These and prior data suggest a disturbance of mitochondrial energy production as an underlying pathophysiological mechanism in a subset of individuals with autism.
Project description:Background:Executive functioning deficits are common in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. However, prior research mainly focused on clinical populations employing cross-sectional designs, impeding conclusions on temporal neurodevelopmental pathways. Here, we examined the prospective association of executive functioning with subsequent autism spectrum disorder (ASD) traits and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) traits. Methods:This study included young children from the Generation R Study, a general population birth cohort. The Brief Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Preschool Version was used to assess parent-reported behavioral executive functioning when the children were 4 years old. ASD traits were assessed at age 6 (n = 3938) using the parent-reported Social Responsiveness Scale. The Teacher Report Form was used to assess ADHD traits at age 7 (n = 2749). Children with high scores were screened to determine possible clinical ASD or ADHD diagnoses. We were able to confirm an ASD diagnosis for n = 56 children by retrieving their medical records and established an ADHD diagnosis for n = 194 children using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-Young Child version (DISC-YC). Data were analyzed using hierarchical linear and logistic regressions. Results:Impaired executive functioning was associated with more ASD and ADHD traits across informants (for ASD traits and diagnoses: β = 0.33, 95% CI [0.30-0.37]; OR = 2.69, 95% CI [1.92-3.77], respectively; for ADHD traits and diagnoses: β = 0.12, 95% CI [0.07-0.16]; OR = 2.32, 95% CI [1.89-2.85], respectively). Deficits in all subdomains were associated with higher levels of ASD traits, whereas only impaired inhibition, working memory, and planning/organization were associated with more ADHD traits. Conclusions:The findings of the current study suggest a graded association of executive functioning difficulties along the continuum of ASD and ADHD and that problems in executive functioning may be a precursor of ASD and ADHD traits from an early age onwards.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Prematurity has been identified as a risk factor for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The link between Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and birth-week has not been strongly evidenced. We evaluated the correlation between the degree of prematurity and the incidence of autism in a cohort of 871 children born prematurely and followed from birth. The cohort was reduced to 416 premature infants born between 2011-2017 who were followed for 2-14 years, and analyzed according to birth week (degree of prematurity), and according to gender. RESULTS:43 children (10.3%) received a definite diagnosis of ASD. There was a significant correlation between birth week and the risk of ASD, with 22.6% of children diagnosed with ASD when born at 25 weeks, versus 6% of ASD diagnoses at 31 weeks of prematurity. For children born after 32 weeks, the incidence decreased to 8-12.5%. A strong link was found between earlier birth week and increased autism risk; the risk remained elevated during near-term prematurity in boys. A correlation between early birth week and an elevated risk for ASD was seen in all children, but accentuated in females, gradually decreasing as birth week progresses; in males the risk for ASD remains elevated for any birth week. CONCLUSION:A statistically significant increase in rates of autism was found with each additional week of prematurity. Females drove this direct risk related to degree of prematurity, while males had an elevated risk throughout prematurity weeks, even at near-term. We recommend including ASD screening in follow up of infants born prematurely, at all levels of prematurity.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To assess whether changes in patterns of combined oral contraceptive (COC) prescriptions to starters between 2008 and 2016 were in line with changes in national recommendations for use. DESIGN:Historical prospective cohort study. SETTING:The national Norwegian Prescription Database. PARTICIPANTS:Women aged 10-49 years who started COCs between 1 January 2008 and 30 June 2016, in total 285 009 women. PRIMARY OUTCOME:The proportion of levonorgestrel-containing COC prescriptions to starters. INTERVENTION:The Norwegian Medical Agency recommended levonorgestrel-containing COCs to starters from 2010 onwards. RESULTS:The proportion of levonorgestrel-containing COCs prescribed to starters increased from 41% in 2008 to 80% in 2016 with the greatest increase from 2011 to 2012. This prescription pattern comprised all age groups but was observed to a lower extent among older women. Public health nurses and midwifes had the highest compliance with recommendations and prescribed levonorgestrel-containing COCs to 96% of starters aged <20 years in 2016, compared with 75% and 86% among general practitioners and doctors with no specialty. CONCLUSION:All professions have increased the proportion of levonorgestrel-containing COC prescriptions to starters. Public health nurses and midwives had the highest compliance with the new recommendations. Future studies will examine whether this shift in prescription pattern has prevented venous thromboembolism in women of reproductive age in Norway.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Prenatal alcohol exposure can affect neurodevelopment, but few studies have examined associations with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). METHODS:We assessed the association between maternal alcohol use and ASD in the Study to Explore Early Development, a multi-site case-control study of children born between September 2003 and August 2006 in the US Regression analyses included 684 children with research clinician-confirmed ASD, 869 children with non-ASD developmental delays or disorders (DDs), and 962 controls ascertained from the general population (POP). Maternal alcohol exposure during each month from 3 months prior to conception until delivery was assessed by self-report. RESULTS:Mothers of POP children were more likely to report any prenatal alcohol use than mothers of children with ASD or DD. In trimester one, 21.2% of mothers of POP children reported alcohol use compared with 18.1% and 18.2% of mothers of children with ASD or DD, respectively (adjusted OR for ASD vs. POP 0.8, 95% confidence interval 0.6, 1.1). During preconception and the first month of pregnancy, one to two drinks on average per week was inversely associated with ASD risk. CONCLUSIONS:These results do not support an adverse association between low-level alcohol exposure and ASD, although these findings were based on retrospective self-reported alcohol use. Unmeasured confounding or exposure misclassification may explain inverse associations with one to two drinks per week. Pregnant or potentially pregnant women should continue to follow recommendations to avoid alcohol use because of other known effects on infant health and neurodevelopment.
Project description:We compared the prevalence of various medical and behavioral co-occurring conditions/symptoms between 4- and 8-year-olds with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from five sites in the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network during the 2010 survey year, accounting for sociodemographic differences. Over 95% of children had at least one co-occurring condition/symptom. Overall, the prevalence was higher in 8- than 4-year-olds for 67% of co-occurring conditions/symptoms examined. Further, our data suggested that co-occurring conditions/symptoms increased or decreased the age at which children were first evaluated for ASD. Similarly, among the 8-year-olds, the prevalence of most co-occurring conditions/symptoms was higher in children with a previous ASD diagnosis documented in their records. These findings are informative for understanding and screening co-occurring conditions/symptoms in ASD.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Clinical diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) relies on time-consuming subjective assessments. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the utility of salivary microRNAs for differentiating children with ASD from peers with typical development (TD) and non-autism developmental delay (DD). The secondary purpose was to explore microRNA patterns among ASD phenotypes. METHOD:This multicenter, prospective, case-control study enrolled 443 children (2-6 years old). ASD diagnoses were based on DSM-5 criteria. Children with ASD or DD were assessed with the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule II and Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales II. MicroRNAs were measured with high-throughput sequencing. Differential expression of microRNAs was compared among the ASD (n = 187), TD (n = 125), and DD (n = 69) groups in the training set (n = 381). Multivariate logistic regression defined a panel of microRNAs that differentiated children with ASD and those without ASD. The algorithm was tested in a prospectively collected naïve set of 62 samples (ASD, n = 37; TD, n = 8; DD, n = 17). Relations between microRNA levels and ASD phenotypes were explored. RESULT:Fourteen microRNAs displayed differential expression (false discovery rate < 0.05) among ASD, TD, and DD groups. A panel of 4 microRNAs (controlling for medical/demographic covariates) best differentiated children with ASD from children without ASD in training (area under the curve = 0.725) and validation (area under the curve = 0.694) sets. Eight microRNAs were associated (R > 0.25, false discovery rate < 0.05) with social affect, and 10 microRNAs were associated with restricted/repetitive behavior. CONCLUSION:Salivary microRNAs are "altered" in children with ASD and associated with levels of ASD behaviors. Salivary microRNA collection is noninvasive, identifying ASD-status with moderate accuracy. A multi-"omic" approach using additional RNA families could improve accuracy, leading to clinical application. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION INFORMATION:A Salivary miRNA Diagnostic Test for Autism; https://clinicaltrials.gov/; NCT02832557.
Project description:A steady increase in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has been reported in studies based on different methods, requiring adjustment for participation and missing data. Recent studies with high ASD prevalence rates rarely report on co-occurring medical conditions. The aim of the study was to describe the prevalence of clinically confirmed cases of ASD in Iceland and concomitant medical conditions.The cohort is based on a nationwide database on ASD among children born during 1994-1998.A total of 267 children were diagnosed with ASD, 197 boys and 70 girls. Only clinically confirmed cases were included. All received physical and neurological examination, standardised diagnostic workup for ASD, as well as cognitive testing. ASD diagnosis was established by interdisciplinary teams. Information on medical conditions and chromosomal testing was obtained by record linkage with hospital registers.Two tertiary institutions in Iceland. The population registry recorded 22 229 children in the birth cohort.Prevalence of all ASD was 120.1/10 000 (95% CI 106.6 to 135.3), for boys 172.4/10 000 (95% CI 150.1 to 198.0) and for girls 64.8/10 000 (95% CI 51.3 to 81.8). Prevalence of all medical conditions was 17.2% (95% CI 13.2 to 22.2), including epilepsy of 7.1% (95% CI 4.6 to 10.8). The proportion of ASD cases with cognitive impairment (intellectual quotient <70) was 45.3%, but only 34.1% were diagnosed with intellectual disability (ID). Children diagnosed earlier or later did not differ on mean total score on a standardised interview for autism.The number of clinically verified cases is larger than in previous studies, yielding a prevalence of ASD on a similar level as found in recent non-clinical studies. The prevalence of co-occurring medical conditions was high, considering the low proportion of ASD cases that also had ID. Earlier detection is clearly desirable in order to provide counselling and treatment.