Project Detail
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) logo
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) logo

Prenatal factors and risk of autism in a Finnish national birth cohort  

This research will investigate whether environmental factors during pregnancy are related to the likelihood that offspring will be diagnosed with autism. Environmental factors such as infections, immune abnormalities, hormones, and smoking will be assessed in pregnancies of 1,000 autism cases and 1,000 healthy children using maternal serum samples that were drawn and stored in nearly all pregnancies in Finland from 1987-2007. Children with autism and healthy children matched to the cases on sex, date of birth, birth place and residence in Finland will be identified from detailed national databases that contain diagnoses on nearly all cases of autism in Finland. Researchers will also test whether there are differences in susceptibility to these environmental factors between boys and girls with autism. This research has the potential to result in a better understanding of the different causes of autism and different developmental pathways that can lead to the illness. The discovery of these causes can lead to prevention of cases of autism by improved prenatal care and to the identification of children who are at risk of developing autism. Project Status


Funder National Institutes of Health
Fiscal Year Funding $408,838.00
Current Award Period 2009-2011
Project Number 5R01ES019004-02
Principal Investigator Brown, Alan
Received ARRA Funding? Yes
Strategic Plan Question Question 3: What Caused This To Happen And Can This Be Prevented? (Causes)
Subcategory Environment
Strategic Plan Objective New! Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 3SH. Support at least three studies of special populations or use existing databases to inform our understanding of environmental risk factors for ASD in pregnancy and the early postnatal period by 2012. Such studies could include: o Comparisons of populations differing in geography, gender, ethnic background, exposure history (e.g., prematurity, maternal infection, nutritional deficiencies, toxins), and migration patterns; and o Comparisons of phenotype (e.g., cytokine profiles), in children with and without a history of autistic regression, adverse events following immunization (such as fever and seizures), and mitochondrial impairment. These studies may also include comparisons of phenotype between children with regressive ASD and their siblings. oEmphasis on environmental factors that influence prenatal and early postnatal development is particularly of high priority. Epidemiological studies should pay special attention to include racially and ethnically diverse populations. IACC Recommended Budget: $12,000,000 over 5 years.
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution New York State Psychiatric Institute
State/Country New York
Web Link 1 Prenatal factors and risk of autism in a Finnish national birth cohort (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Prenatal factors and risk of autism in a Finnish national birth cohort | $840,697.00 | 2009 | 1R01ES019004-01