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Lower birth weight indicates higher risk of autistic traits in discordant twin pairs

Losh, M.; Esserman, D.; Anckarsäter, Henrik LU ; Sullivan, P. F. and Lichtenstein, P. (2012) In Psychological Medicine 42(5). p.1091-1102
Abstract
Background. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder of complex etiology. Although strong evidence supports the causal role of genetic factors, environmental risk factors have also been implicated. This study used a co-twin-control design to investigate low birth weight as a risk factor for ASD. Method. We studied a population-based sample of 3715 same-sex twin pairs participating in the Child and Adolescent Twin Study of Sweden (CATSS). ASD was assessed using a structured parent interview for screening of ASD and related developmental disorders, based on DSM-IV criteria. Birth weight was obtained from medical birth records maintained by the Swedish Medical Birth Registry. Results. Twins lower in birth weight in... (More)
Background. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder of complex etiology. Although strong evidence supports the causal role of genetic factors, environmental risk factors have also been implicated. This study used a co-twin-control design to investigate low birth weight as a risk factor for ASD. Method. We studied a population-based sample of 3715 same-sex twin pairs participating in the Child and Adolescent Twin Study of Sweden (CATSS). ASD was assessed using a structured parent interview for screening of ASD and related developmental disorders, based on DSM-IV criteria. Birth weight was obtained from medical birth records maintained by the Swedish Medical Birth Registry. Results. Twins lower in birth weight in ASD-discordant twin pairs (n=34) were more than three times more likely to meet criteria for ASD than heavier twins [odds ratio (OR) 3.25]. Analyses of birth weight as a continuous risk factor showed a 13% reduction in risk of ASD for every 100 g increase in birth weight (n=78). Analysis of the effect of birth weight on ASD symptoms in the entire population (most of whom did not have ASD) showed a modest association. That is, for every 100 g increase in birth weight, a 2% decrease in severity of ASD indexed by scores on the Autism - Tics, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), and other Comorbidities (A-TAC) inventory would be expected in the sample as a whole. Conclusions. The data were consistent with the hypothesis that low birth weight confers risk to ASD. Thus, although genetic effects are of major importance, a non-genetic influence associated with birth weight may contribute to the development of ASD. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Autism, birth weight, twin
in
Psychological Medicine
volume
42
issue
5
pages
1091 - 1102
publisher
Cambridge University Press
external identifiers
  • wos:000302379800019
  • scopus:84859253942
ISSN
1469-8978
DOI
10.1017/S0033291711002339
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
579ed31f-d330-4432-b687-46749438cca6 (old id 2587468)
date added to LUP
2012-06-01 09:37:16
date last changed
2017-09-17 03:11:41
@article{579ed31f-d330-4432-b687-46749438cca6,
  abstract     = {Background. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder of complex etiology. Although strong evidence supports the causal role of genetic factors, environmental risk factors have also been implicated. This study used a co-twin-control design to investigate low birth weight as a risk factor for ASD. Method. We studied a population-based sample of 3715 same-sex twin pairs participating in the Child and Adolescent Twin Study of Sweden (CATSS). ASD was assessed using a structured parent interview for screening of ASD and related developmental disorders, based on DSM-IV criteria. Birth weight was obtained from medical birth records maintained by the Swedish Medical Birth Registry. Results. Twins lower in birth weight in ASD-discordant twin pairs (n=34) were more than three times more likely to meet criteria for ASD than heavier twins [odds ratio (OR) 3.25]. Analyses of birth weight as a continuous risk factor showed a 13% reduction in risk of ASD for every 100 g increase in birth weight (n=78). Analysis of the effect of birth weight on ASD symptoms in the entire population (most of whom did not have ASD) showed a modest association. That is, for every 100 g increase in birth weight, a 2% decrease in severity of ASD indexed by scores on the Autism - Tics, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), and other Comorbidities (A-TAC) inventory would be expected in the sample as a whole. Conclusions. The data were consistent with the hypothesis that low birth weight confers risk to ASD. Thus, although genetic effects are of major importance, a non-genetic influence associated with birth weight may contribute to the development of ASD.},
  author       = {Losh, M. and Esserman, D. and Anckarsäter, Henrik and Sullivan, P. F. and Lichtenstein, P.},
  issn         = {1469-8978},
  keyword      = {Autism,birth weight,twin},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {1091--1102},
  publisher    = {Cambridge University Press},
  series       = {Psychological Medicine},
  title        = {Lower birth weight indicates higher risk of autistic traits in discordant twin pairs},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291711002339},
  volume       = {42},
  year         = {2012},
}