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

il age 36 months. This study used gold standard diagnostic methods and comprehensive assessments by expert researchers, compared to prior studies based on more narrow diagnostic criteria.

"It has been well established that siblings of children with ASD are at higher risk for developing the disorder, but our estimates of the recurrence rate had been based on much smaller samples," explained Autism Speaks Director of Research for Environmental Sciences Alycia Halladay, Ph.D. who oversees the BSRC. "These findings emphasize the importance of family history as an autism risk factor that requires attention by parents and clinicians in tracking these infants from an early age to determine if the younger sibling develops ASD or a development disorder."

"It's important to recognize that these are estimates that are averaged across all of the families. So, for some families, the risk will be greater than 18.7 percent, and for other families it would be less than 18.7 percent," said Sally Ozonoff, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the MIND Institute and the study's lead author. "At the present time, unfortunately, we do not know how to estimate an individual family's actual risk."

The High Risk Baby Siblings Research Consortium, now engaging 25 scientists at 21 institutions in the U.S., Canada, Israel and the UK, is a partnership between Autism Speaks and the National Institutes of Health, led by the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. Autism Speaks began funding baby sibling research in 1997 and has since committed over $7 million to this project, both in scientific research and programmatic activities. Autism Speaks also provided funding to authors Ozonoff and Young for this study.


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Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
Autism Speaks
Source:Eurekalert  

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