Smoking and Infections – Perinatal and Prenatal Risk Factors in Autism

Narrowly Versus Broadly Defined Autism Spectrum Disorders: Differences in Pre- and Perinatal Risk Factors.

Karakter Child and Adolescent Psychiatry University Center The Netherlands


This study examined the differential contribution of pre- and perinatal risks in narrowly versus broadly defined autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and across core symptom domains, IQ and co-morbid problems.

Children with a DSM-IV diagnosis of autistic disorder (AD) (n = 121) or pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) (n = 75) were compared to a typical control sample (n = 311). Diagnoses were based on extensive assessments between 12 and 49 months of age (M = 33.3, SD = 6.4) and re-evaluated at 43-98 months (M = 68.1, SD = 10.7) in 70 % of the cases.

Compared with controls, cases with ASD were more likely to be firstborn and show a suboptimal condition after birth.

Case mothers reported more infections and more stress during pregnancy.

Although the ASD subgroups showed mostly overlapping risks, cases with PDD-NOS differed from those with AD by higher exposure to smoking during pregnancy (SDP) and by a negative association of smoking with IQ, regardless of confounders.

SDP appears to contribute more to broadly defined (PDD-NOS) than to narrowly defined ASD (AD). Findings suggest differences in etiological contributors between ASD phenotypes.

This entry was posted in Autism, Environment, Epigenetics, General, Immune System, Physiology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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