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Science Summary: The Familial Risk of Autism

  Science post imageThe Familial Risk of Autism

Sven Sandin, MSc; Paul Lichtenstein, PhD; Ralf Kuja-Halkola, MSc; Henrik Larsson, PhD;
Christina M. Hultman, PhD; Abraham Reichenberg, PhD

IMPORTANCE Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) aggregates in families, but the individual risk
and to what extent this is caused by genetic factors or shared or nonshared environmental
factors remains unresolved.

OBJECTIVE To provide estimates of familial aggregation and heritability of ASD.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS A population-based cohort including 2 049 973
Swedish children born 1982 through 2006.We identified 37 570 twin pairs, 2 642 064 full
sibling pairs, 432 281 maternal and 445 531 paternal half sibling pairs, and 5 799 875 cousin
pairs. Diagnoses of ASD to December 31, 2009 were ascertained.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES The relative recurrence risk (RRR) measures familial
aggregation of disease. The RRR is the relative risk of autism in a participant with a sibling or
cousin who has the diagnosis (exposed) compared with the risk in a participant with no
diagnosed family member (unexposed).We calculated RRR for both ASD and autistic disorder
adjusting for age, birth year, sex, parental psychiatric history, and parental age.We estimated
how much of the probability of developing ASD can be related to genetic (additive and
dominant) and environmental (shared and nonshared) factors.
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RESULTS In the sample, 14 516 children were diagnosed with ASD, of whom 5689 had autistic
disorder. The RRR and rate per 100 000 person-years for ASD among monozygotic twins was
estimated to be 153.0 (95%CI, 56.7-412.8; rate, 6274 for exposed vs 27 for unexposed ); for
dizygotic twins, 8.2 (95%CI, 3.7-18.1; rate, 805 for exposed vs 55 for unexposed); for full
siblings, 10.3 (95%CI, 9.4-11.3; rate, 829 for exposed vs 49 for unexposed); for maternal half
siblings, 3.3 (95%CI, 2.6-4.2; rate, 492 for exposed vs 94 for unexposed); for paternal half
siblings, 2.9 (95%CI, 2.2-3.7; rate, 371 for exposed vs 85 for unexposed); and for cousins, 2.0
(95%CI, 1.8-2.2; rate, 155 for exposed vs 49 for unexposed). The RRR pattern was similar for
autistic disorder but of slightly higher magnitude.We found support for a disease etiology
including only additive genetic and nonshared environmental effects. The ASD heritability
was estimated to be 0.50 (95%CI, 0.45-0.56) and the autistic disorder heritability was
estimated to 0.54 (95%CI, 0.44-0.64).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Among children born in Sweden, the individual risk of ASD
and autistic disorder increased with increasing genetic relatedness. Heritability of ASD and
autistic disorder were estimated to be approximately 50%. These findings may inform the
counseling of families with affected children.

Comments

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cia parker

Barry,
You are right, it is not directly inheritable. However, there are genes which predispose to succumbing to vaccine damage. In my family, my brother and I reacted to the DPT with screaming syndrome (encephalitis) and grew up with Asperger's (unsuspected at the time). I have 13 cousins. None of us had autism. In this new generation, my daughter, the older of my brother's two sons, and a cousin's daughter, all reacted to vaccines with autism. My mother reacted in the '30s to a diphtheria vaccine with GI disease and Asperger's (again, unsuspected at the time). Her GI disease was extremely severe, permanent constipation, and from the time she reacted at four years old, had to have an enema every day for the rest of her life. My father reacted to a flu vaccines with paralysis for the last three years of his life (and he lost his voice for a month right after a flu vaccine in November 1999, another sign of mercury poisoning), and my mother developed Alzheimer's from the yearly flu vaccines at the same time he was paralyzed. And I reacted to a tetanus booster with both arms being paralyzed the same day, brachial plexus neuropathy, and went on to develop MS. But no vaccines, no problem. We obviously have a gene that predisposes us to vaccine damage, and if there were any real science in the US, scientists would be researching our genetic makeup and that of other families with clusters of autism etc.

Benedetta

This is the problem with statistical data.
I don't doubt for a minute that familes have groupings of autism; and a quick - knee jerk reaction is "genetics"

12 generations of rats -- later after their ancestor eat some kind of pesticide -that retaught their immune system and have some kind of neurological disorder - does not make it genetic.

Dang it and hang 'em -- they well know that the immune system is a whole differnt thing -- tons of medical literature, tons of EPA regulations of how to hold these test.

And a study done on pregnant women that it is the turning on of the immune system - when they have the flu or a vaccine for that matter will cause their child to be born with autism has got around and spoken about even in the IACC meetings --- Did Throsen do this study -- he is in the neighborhood - Did CDC send them a bunch more money???

Barry

According to Dr. Mayer Eisenstein of Homefirst Medical services:

" My partners and I have over 35,000 patients who have never been vaccinated. You know how many cases of autism we have seen? ZERO, ZERO…"

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:

Among 35,000 completely unvaccinated children, the individual risk of ASD and autistic disorder has nothing whatsoever to do with genetics. Heritability of ASD and autistic disorder were estimated to be exactly 0%.

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