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AofA Science Summary: Autism spectrum disorders and autisticlike traits: similar etiology in the extreme end and the normal vari

Posted Jan 01 2012 12:00am

Science post image Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012 Jan;69(1):46-52.

Autism spectrum disorders and autisticlike traits: similar etiology in the extreme end and the normal variation.

Lundström SChang ZRåstam MGillberg CLarsson HAnckarsäter HLichtenstein P .


Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Lillhagsparken 3, 422 50 Hisings Backa, Sweden. .


Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have been suggested to represent the extreme end of a normal distribution of autisticlike traits (ALTs). However, the evidence of this notion is inconclusive.


To study whether there are similar genetic and/or environmental etiologies behind ASDs and ALTs.


A nationwide twin study.


Consenting parents of all Swedish twins aged 9 and 12 years, born between July 1, 1992, and December 31, 2001 (n = 19 208), were interviewed by telephone to screen for child psychiatric conditions, including ASDs.


Two validated cutoffs for ASDs, 2 cutoffs encompassing the normal variation, and 1 continuous measure of ALTs were used with DeFries-Fulker extreme-end analyses and standard twin study methods.


We discerned a strong correlation between the 4 cutoffs and the full variation of ALTs. The correlation was primarily affected by genes. We also found that the heritability for the 4 cutoffs was similar.


We demonstrate an etiological similarity between ASDs and ALTs in the normal variation and, with results from previous studies, our data suggest that ASDs and ALTs are etiologically linked.

Posted by Age of Autism at January 11, 2012 at 5:43 AM in Science Permalink

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