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Perinatal Factors, Socio-Economic Status, Parental Psychiatric History and Autism in Denmark -- A Register-Based Case-Control Study

Heidi Larsson, North Atlantic Neuro-Epidemiology Alliances, Aarhus University

Autism is a developmental disease with an occurrence rate of at least 1 per 1000. It is thought to be largely genetically determined but also pregnancy, delivery or neonatal complications may have an effect. There has been no consistency in results from studies of associations between perinatal factors and autism, partly due to different designs and strengths of the studies. Recent studies have pointed to an increased risk among low birth weight children, small for gestational age children, children with a low Apgar score at birth or children delivered by a caesarean section. Based on Danish register information it was possible to identify 698 cases of autism diagnosed within the last 30 years. These cases are the basis for this individually matched case-control study with the purpose of exploring the association between perinatal factors and autism in Denmark. In addition to information on pregnancy and delivery it was possible to get information on socio-economic status and parental psychiatric history from various Danish registers. This has given the study an additional perspective as to whether parental psychiatric diseases increases the risk of autism and if it does, if this effect will wipe out any perinatal effect!


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