Autism and autistic traits in people exposed to heavy prenatal alcohol: data from a clinical series of 21 individuals and nested case control study

Raja Mukherjee (Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, UK)
Michael Layton (South Cherwell Community Learning Disability Team, UK)
Evan Yacoub (John Howard Centre, London, UK)
Jeremy Turk (Institute of Psychiatry, Maudsley Foundation NHS Trust, UK)

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities

ISSN: 2044-1282

Publication date: 24 January 2011

Abstract

Associations between fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and other conditions have been reported, but the links between FAS and autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) remain unclear. This study explored the relationship between FAS and ASD in individuals attending a specialist diagnostic clinic. Consecutive referrals over 24 months to a specialist neurodevelopmental clinic were evaluated using gold standard methods for FAS diagnosis and ASD. The first 18‐month cohort who met criteria for ASD were compared with controls attending the same clinic but who had not experienced prenatal alcohol exposure (nested data). Data for the whole group were also collected. Twenty‐one fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) individuals were assessed and 16 (72%) met ICD‐10 criteria for childhood autism. Further significant differences between the prenatally exposed and non‐exposed group with ASD were found in the nested study. The research shows an association between heavy prenatal alcohol exposure and ASD. As this is a small sample in a specialist clinic, the study suggests that a larger, more population‐based study of those exposed to heavy prenatal alcohol is warranted.

Keywords

Citation

Mukherjee, R., Layton, M., Yacoub, E. and Turk, J. (2011), "Autism and autistic traits in people exposed to heavy prenatal alcohol: data from a clinical series of 21 individuals and nested case control study", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 42-49. https://doi.org/10.5042/amhid.2011.0015

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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