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September 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 7)

Children more likely to develop autism if they have an autistic older sibling
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Children more likely to develop autism if they have an autistic older sibling image

Just why a child develops autism remains something of a mystery—but there could be a genetic link. Children whose sibling had autism, or ASD (autism spectrum disorder), are 14 times more likely to have the problem themselves.

The discovery, made by researchers from the Kaiser Permanente healthcare company, builds on earlier observations that second-born children, who were conceived less than two years after the birth of their sibling, were much more likely to develop autism.

In the new study, based on an analysis of 53,336 second-born children who were born between 2001 and 2010 in southern California, the researchers discovered that the chances of the children also having autism were around 15 times greater if they were born at term, and was 10 times higher if they were premature.

There’s also the chance that parents who have an autistic child are more likely to have their second child tested, say the researchers, which could also partly explain the higher rates.


References

(Source: Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, published online, August 5, 2016)

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