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Risk of autism among younger siblings of a child with autism much greater than previously reported
Date:8/14/2011

NEW YORK, N.Y. (August 15, 2011) Autism Speaks, the world's largest autism science and advocacy organization, joined in announcing significant findings from the largest known study of younger siblings of children who had a verified diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study, based on data from the Autism Speaks High Risk Baby Siblings Research Consortium (BSRC) and led by investigators from the UC Davis MIND Institute, was published online today in the journal Pediatrics and will appear in the September issue.

The "Recurrence Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Baby Siblings Research Consortium Study" found that 19 percent of younger siblings of children with ASD developed autism, a rate significantly higher than the general population. If there were two children with ASD in the family, the risk of the third sibling developing ASD increased to more than 32 percent. The study found that the risk of an ASD diagnosis for male infants who had an older sibling with ASD was almost three times greater than the risk for female infants (26 percent compared to 9 percent). The study did not find any increase in risk associated with the gender of the older sibling, severity of the older sibling's symptoms, or other parent characteristics such as parental age, socio-economic status or race/ethnicity.

"By pulling together data from many investigators who are studying infant siblings of children with autism, these results offer a more accurate estimate of the recurrence rate for autism in siblings," says Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D. "Surprisingly, the rate is much higher than previous estimates. This points to the important need for closely monitoring and screening siblings so that they can be offered intervention as early as possible to ensure the best possible outcome."

The study involved 664 infants from 12 U.S. and Canadian sites, evaluated as early as 6 months of age and followed unt
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Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
Autism Speaks
Source:Eurekalert  

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