Summary: Using large data sets, researchers have determined that children on the autism spectrum can be divided into three subgroups based on co-occurring conditions, and these subgroups are associated with different prenatal risk factors. Infections, anti-inflammatories and other complex medications were associated with one group, while joint disorders and immune system problems were associated with another. The third subgroup was associated with overall pregnancy complications. Researchers have developed a new blood test that can detect autism and prenatal risk factors for ASD.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a “global” diagnosis applied to people with very different behaviors as well as co-occurring medical conditions.
Using very large datasets of medical records, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) found that not only can children be divided into subgroups based on these co-occurring conditions, but these subgroups are also associated with various prenatal maternal risk factors. .
The research is published today in the journal autism research.
The research, led by Juergen Hahn, head of Rensselaer’s biomedical engineering department, builds on his team’s previous findings, including the development of a blood test for autism and prenatal risk factors for ASD. .
“Autism has always been diagnosed as a condition. Through our research, we have sought to determine differences within the condition,” said Dr. Hahn, who is also a fellow at the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies ( CBIS) from RPI.
“Now this work not only shows that there are subgroups of children with different co-occurring conditions, but that there are different prenatal risk factors associated with these subgroups. Given the important differences we observe for risk factors, this raises the question of how much other aspects of ASD research would be affected by these kinds of subgroups.
“Ultimately, diagnosis and interventions may also be influenced by the presentation of ASD and the use of a single medical diagnostic category for ASD may not be sufficient in the future.”
The research found that infections, anti-inflammatories and other complex medications were associated with one of the groups while immune dysregulation conditions such as asthma and joint disorders were associated with the second group, and finally , overall pregnancy complications were associated with the third group. children.
The new research looked at data collected from children with ASD who also have one or more other co-occurring conditions, such as, for example, epilepsy, sleep disturbances, psychiatric disorders, developmental delays or gastrointestinal symptoms.
The study looked at the medical records of 1,258 children diagnosed with ASD and 122,559 children representing the population without a diagnosis of ASD, as well as their mothers, from before conception until age five.
Dr. Hahn and his team used anonymized administrative claims data from the OptumLabs Data Warehouse, which includes longitudinal enrollee and patient health information, representing a diverse mix of ages, ethnicities, and regions. locations across the United States to perform these analyses.
“At this point, ASD is still just a label applied to individuals with varying behavioral conditions and likely different biology. The field knows this is suboptimal.
“This research, along with previous work from the Hahn lab, attempts to use massive datasets to better understand and characterize the underlying biology behind ASDs. We are proud to continue supporting the Hahn Lab in its data-driven efforts,” said John Rodakis, Founder of N of One: Autism Research Foundation.
“The interdisciplinary approach to research at Rensselaer has led to groundbreaking research and discoveries,” commented Dr. Deepak Vashishth, CBIS Director and Professor of Biomedical Engineering.
“The combination of computation, engineering, and life sciences has allowed Juergen’s team to continue to build on this important ASD research.”
“The results will hopefully allow for more specific and targeted research to identify the biological pathways associated with each ASD subgroup,” commented Dr. Hahn.
About this ASD and Pregnancy Research News
Author: Press office
Contact: Press office – RPI
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Original research: Access closed.
“Maternal risk factors vary between subpopulations of children with autism spectrum disorders” by Geneviève Grivas et al. autism research
Maternal risk factors vary among subpopulations of children with autism spectrum disorders
Previous work has identified three subgroups of children with ASD based on co-occurring conditions (COCs) diagnosed during the first 5 years of life.
This work examines prenatal risk factors, given by maternal medical claims, for each of three subgroups: children with a high prevalence of COCs, children with mainly developmental delay and seizures (DD/Seizure COC) and children with low prevalence. COCs.
Although some risk factors were shared by all three subgroups, the majority of factors identified for each subgroup were unique; infections, anti-inflammatories and other complex medications were associated with the high prevalence COC group; immune dysregulation conditions such as asthma and joint disorders were associated with the DD/Seizure COC group; and overall pregnancy complications were associated with the low prevalence COC group.
Thus, we found that previously identified subgroups of children with ASD have distinct associated prenatal risk factors.
As such, this work supports the subgroup of children with ASD based on COCs, which may provide a framework to elucidate some of the heterogeneity associated with ASD.
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