Etiology and risk factors for autism among preterm born children

  • Kajantie, Eero E. (PI)
  • Risnes, Kari K. (CoPI)
  • Ludvigsson, Jonas J. (CoPI)
  • Yip, Benjamin B. (CoPI)
  • Rantalainen, Mattias M. (CoPI)
  • Sandin, Sven S. (CoPI)
  • Ådén, Ulrika U. (CoPI)

Project Details


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) risk is primarily of genetic origins. One source through which environmental effects may be influential is preterm birth (PTB; birth ≪37 weeks gestation) which constitutes 6% of all births in Sweden (10% world wide). PTB is primarily of environmental origin, due to disease in the pregnant woman or her fetus. The processes underlying PTB may initiate ASD. This hypothesis has not been previously studied. If true, the heritability of ASD may be much lower in PTB children suggesting that PTB defines a subset of the general population where environmental risk play the major role for ASD risk.The goal of our project is to examine the ASD-etiology in PTB children and test if the etiology is different compared to term-born; identify risk factors for ASD in PTB children, and to estimate the public health consequences of these factors.We will create a cohort of all Swedish children born 1995-2014 using the national registers, replicate results in Finland and examine genetic markers in a Swedish genetic sample.Aims are: (1) Determine the epidemiology and risk factors for ASD in PTB children. (2) Test if the risk factors in aim 1 are due to confounding, and estimate their public health consequences. (3) Compare ASD susceptibility in PTB and term-born children using both family data and molecular genetic data. (4) Explore potentials for risk prediction in a clinical cohortThis will be the most systematic investigation ASD-etiology in PTB children to date.

Effective start/end date1/12/2130/11/25


  • Vetenskapsrådet: $549,660.00


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