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Early life environmental factors associated with autism spectrum disorder symptoms in children at age 2 years: A birth cohort study

journal contribution
posted on 2022-01-11, 00:00 authored by C Pham, C Symeonides, M O’Hely, Peter SlyPeter Sly, L D Knibbs, S Thomson, Peter VuillerminPeter Vuillermin, R Saffery, A L Ponsonby, J Carlin, M Tang, F Collier, T Dwyer, S Ranganathan, L Harrison, D Burgner
Mounting evidence finds that early life environmental factors increased the probability of autism spectrum disorder. We estimated prospective associations between early life environmental factors and autism spectrum disorder symptoms in children at the age of 2 years in a population-derived birth cohort, the Barwon Infant Study. Autism spectrum disorder symptoms at the age of 2 years strongly predicted autism spectrum disorder diagnosis by the age of 4 years (area under curve = 0.93; 95% CI (0.82, 1.00)). After adjusting for child’s sex and age at the time of behavioural assessment, markers of socioeconomic disadvantage, such as lower household income and lone parental status; maternal health factors, including younger maternal age, maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index, higher gestational weight gain and prenatal maternal stress; prenatal alcohol; environmental air pollutant exposures, including particulate matter < 2.5 µm at birth, child secondhand tobacco smoke exposure at 12 months, dampness/mould and home heating with oil, kerosene or diesel heaters at 2 years postnatal. Lower socioeconomic indexes for area, later birth order, higher maternal prenatal depression, and maternal smoking frequency had a dose-response relationship with autism spectrum disorder symptoms. Future studies on environmental factors and autism spectrum disorder should consider the reasons for the socioeconomic disparity and the combined impact of multiple environmental factors through common mechanistic pathways. Lay abstract Mounting evidence indicates the contribution of early life environmental factors in autism spectrum disorder. We aim to report the prospective associations between early life environmental factors and autism spectrum disorder symptoms in children at the age of 2 years in a population-derived birth cohort, the Barwon Infant Study. Autism spectrum disorder symptoms at the age of 2 years strongly predicted autism spectrum disorder diagnosis by the age of 4 years (area under curve = 0.93; 95% CI (0.82, 1.00)). After adjusting for child’s sex and age at the time of behavioural assessment, markers of socioeconomic disadvantage, such as lower household income and lone parental status; maternal health factors, including younger maternal age, maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index, higher gestational weight gain and prenatal maternal stress; maternal lifestyle factors, such as prenatal alcohol and environmental air pollutant exposures, including particulate matter < 2.5 μm at birth, child secondhand tobacco smoke at 12 months, dampness/mould and home heating with oil, kerosene or diesel heaters at 2 years postnatal. Lower socioeconomic indexes for area, later birth order, higher maternal prenatal depression and maternal smoking frequency had a dose-response relationship with autism spectrum disorder symptoms. Future studies on environmental factors and autism spectrum disorder should consider the reasons for the socioeconomic disparity and the combined impact of multiple environmental factors through common mechanistic pathways.

History

Journal

Autism

Article number

13623613211068223

Pagination

1 - 18

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Location

London, England

ISSN

1362-3613

eISSN

1461-7005

Language

English

Notes

In press

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal