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Three subgroups of autism with distinct prenatal risk factors

To summarize: Using the large dataset, the researchers determined that children on the autism spectrum can be divided into three subgroups based on co-occurring conditions that are associated with different prenatal risk factors. Infections, anti-inflammatory and other complex drugs were associated with one group, while joint disease and immune system problems were associated with another. The third subgroup was related to overall pregnancy complications. Researchers have developed a new blood test that can detect prenatal risk factors for autism and ASD.

resource: RPI

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a “blanket” diagnosis that applies to individuals with distinct behaviors and co-occurring medical conditions.

Using a very large dataset of medical records, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) found that not only could children be divided into subgroups based on these co-occurrences, but that these subgroups were also associated with different maternal prenatal risk factors. related.

The study was published today in the journal Autism Research.

The research, led by Juergen Hahn, chair of Rensselaer’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, builds on his team’s previous findings, including the development of blood-based tests for prenatal risk factors for autism and ASD.

“Autism has always been diagnosed as a disorder. Through our research, we are trying to identify differences in the condition,” said Dr. Hahn, who is also a member of RPI’s Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS).

“This work now shows not only that there are subgroups of children with different co-occurring conditions, but also that the prenatal risk factors associated with these subgroups are different. Given the significant differences in risk factors we see, this raises the question of : To what extent other aspects of ASD research are affected by this type of grouping.

“Ultimately, diagnosis and intervention may also be influenced by the presentation of ASD, and it may not be sufficient to use only one medical diagnostic category for ASD in the future.”

The study found that infections, anti-inflammatory and other complex medications were associated with one group, while immune disorders such as asthma and joint disease were associated with the second group, and finally, overall pregnancy complications were associated with the third group of children.

The new study looked at data collected from children with ASD who also had one or more other co-occurring medical conditions, such as epilepsy, sleep disturbances, psychiatric disorders, developmental delays or gastrointestinal symptoms.

The study involved 1,258 children diagnosed with ASD and 122,559 medical records representing undiagnosed children with ASD and their mothers, from preconception to age 5 years.

Dr. Hahn and his team performed these analyses using de-identified administrative claims data from the OptumLabs data warehouse, which includes both enrollee and patient longitudinal health information, representing a mix of ages, ethnicities and geographic regions in the United States.

The study found that infections, anti-inflammatory and other complex medications were associated with one group, while immune disorders such as asthma and joint disease were associated with the second group, and finally, overall pregnancy complications were associated with the third group of children.Image is in the public domain

“At this point, ASD is still just a label that applies to individuals with different behavioral conditions and possibly different biology. The field knows this is suboptimal.

“This study, along with previous work in the Hahn lab, sought to use massive datasets to better understand and characterize the underlying biology behind ASD. We are proud to continue to support the data-driven work of the Hahn lab,” N of One: said John Rodakis, founder of the Autism Research Foundation.

“Rensselaer’s interdisciplinary approach to research has resulted in groundbreaking research and discoveries,” commented Dr. Deepak Vashishth, Director of CBIS and Professor of Biomedical Engineering.

“Combining computing, engineering and life sciences allows Juergen’s team to continue building on this important research in ASD.”

“These findings promise more specific and targeted studies in identifying biological pathways associated with each ASD subgroup,” commented Dr. Hahn.

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About this ASD and Pregnancy Research News

author: News office
resource: RPI
touch: Press Office – RPI
picture: Image is in the public domain

Original research: closed access.
“Maternal risk factors vary by subgroup of children with autism spectrum disorder” by Genevieve Grivas et al. Autism Research


Abstract

Maternal risk factors differ among subgroups of children with autism spectrum disorders

Previous work identified three subgroups of children with ASD based on co-occurring conditions (COCs) diagnosed in the first 5 years of life.

This work examined prenatal risk factors for each of three subgroups, given by maternal medical statements: children with high prevalence of COC, children with major developmental delay and seizures (DD/seizure COC) and COC in children with low prevalence.

While all three subgroups had some risk factors, most of the factors identified for each subgroup were unique; infections, anti-inflammatory, and other complex drugs were associated with a high-prevalence COC group; immune systems such as asthma and joint disease Dysregulation status was associated with the DD/seizure COC group; and overall pregnancy complications were associated with the low prevalence of COCs group.

Therefore, we found previously identified subgroups of children with ASD to have different associated prenatal risk factors.

Therefore, this work supports grouping children with ASD based on COC, which may provide a framework to elucidate some of the heterogeneity associated with ASD.

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