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J Child Neurol. 2014 Dec;29(12):1645-51. doi: 10.1177/0883073813512899. Epub 2014 Jan 10.

Pre- and perinatal risk factors for autism spectrum disorder in a New Jersey cohort.

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Department of Neurosciences and Neurology, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USA.
Department of Neurosciences and Neurology, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USA


This study evaluated the prevalence of pre- and perinatal risk factors in a cohort of children with autism spectrum disorders compared with the New Jersey population. Our cohort included 268 individuals with an autism spectrum disorder. Birth histories were obtained by a self-administered questionnaire. The autism spectrum disorders cohort rates of 7 perinatal risk factors were significantly higher than New Jersey state rates: mother's age 35 years or older, low birth weight, multiple gestation, prematurity, vaginal bleeding, prolonged labor, and hypoxia. Analysis of clustering of risk factors in the cohort showed no significant differences across maternal and paternal age groups. Older mothers in the cohort had a higher risk of infant hypoxia. Multiple risk factors during pregnancy appear to be associated with a higher risk of autism spectrum disorders in offspring, supporting the hypothesis that environmental influences in conjunction with genetics contribute to the causes of autism spectrum disorders.


advanced maternal age; advanced paternal age; autism spectrum disorders; perinatal risk factors; prenatal risk factors

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