3-generation family medical histories of mental, neurologic, cardiometabolic, birth defect, asthma, allergy, and autoimmune conditions associated with autism

Diana Schendel, Linda Ejlskov, Morten Overgaard, Zeal Jinwala, Viktor Kim, Erik Parner, Amy E Kalkbrenner, Christine Ladd Acosta, M Danielle Fallin, Sherlly Xie, Preben Bo Mortensen, Brian Lee

Research output: Working paper/Preprint Preprint

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Family histories of different mental and non-mental conditions have often been associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) but the restricted scope of conditions and family members that have been investigated limits etiologic understanding. We aimed to perform a comprehensive assessment of ASD associations with 3-generation family histories of 90 mental, neurologic, cardiometabolic, birth defect, asthma, allergy, and autoimmune conditions. The assessment comprised separate estimates of association with ASD overall; separate estimates by sex and intellectual disability (ID) status; as well as separate estimates of the co-occurrence of each of the 90 disorders in autistic persons. Additionally, we aimed to provide interactive catalogues of results to facilitate results visualization and further hypothesis-generation.

METHODS: We conducted a population-based, registry cohort study comprised of all live births in Denmark, 1980-2012, of Denmark-born parents, and with birth registry information (1,697,231 births), and their 3-generation family member types (20 types). All cohort members were followed from birth through April 10, 2017 for an ASD diagnosis. All participants (cohort members and each family member) were followed from birth through April 10, 2017 for each of 90 diagnoses, emigration or death. Adjusted hazard ratios (aHR) were estimated for ASD overall; by sex; or accounting for ID via separate Cox regression models for each diagnosis-family member type combination, adjusting for birth year, sex, birth weight, gestational age, parental ages at birth, and number of family member types of index person. aHRs were also calculated for sex-specific co-occurrence of each disorder, for ASD overall and considering ID. A catalogue of all results is displayed via interactive heat maps here: https://ncrr-au.shinyapps.io/asd-riskatlas/ and interactive graphic summaries of results are here: https://public.tableau.com/views/ASDPlots_16918786403110/e-Figure5 .

RESULTS: Increased aHRs for ASD (26,840 cases; 1.6% of births) were observed for almost all individual mental disorder-family member type combinations yet for fewer non-mental disorder-family member type combinations. aHRs declined with diminishing degree of relatedness between the index person and family member for some disorders, especially mental disorders. Variation in aHR magnitude by family member sex (e.g., higher maternal than paternal aHRs) or side of the family (e.g., higher maternal versus paternal half sibling aHRs) was more evident among non-mental than mental disorders. Co-occurring ID in the family member or the index person impacted aHR variation.

CONCLUSION: Our approach revealed considerable breadth and variation in magnitude of familial health history associations with ASD by type of condition, sex of the affected family member, side of the family, sex of the index person, and ID status which is indicative of diverse genetic, familial, and non-genetic ASD etiologic pathways. More careful attention to identifying sources of autism likelihood encompassed in family medical history, in addition to genetics, may accelerate understanding of factors underlying neurodiversity.

Original languageEnglish
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2024
SeriesmedRxiv : the preprint server for health sciences

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