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J Hum Genet. 2006;51(6):518-22. Epub 2006 Mar 25.

Sibling risk of pervasive developmental disorder estimated by means of an epidemiologic survey in Nagoya, Japan.

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  • 1West District Care Center for Disabled Children, 20-48 Komoto, Nakagawa-ku, Nagoya 454-0828, Japan.


Broad-spectrum autism, referred to as pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), may be associated with genetic factors. We examined 241 siblings in 269 Japanese families with affected children. The sibling incidence of PDD was 10.0% whereas the prevalence of PDD in the general population in the same geographic region was 2.1%. Both of these rates are higher than those reported previously, probably because of the expanded clinical criteria applied. The prevalence in males of the general population was 3.3% and that in females was 0.82%. The sibling incidences were 7.7 and 20.0% for families in which the probands were male and female, respectively. Because the reversed sex ratios correspond to the general rule for a multifactorial threshold model, we suggest that most PDD cases result from the cumulative effects of multiple factors (mostly genetic). The sibling incidences were 0 and 10.9% for families in which the proband had low and normal birth-weight, respectively, suggesting the risk is lower in families with low-birth-weight probands.

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