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Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
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Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC)
 
Project Element Element Description

Project Title

Project Title

Early life environmental exposures and autism in an existing Swedish birth cohort

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

Lee, Brian

Description

Description

Large autism spectrum disorders (ASD) studies utilizing biobanks such as the National Children's Study are planned or underway but the financial cost of following children from birth is considerable and such studies will not yield reportable findings until years later. This is a case-control study of the early life environment that utilizes two existing resources with coverage of the entire nation of Sweden - a repository of 35+ years' worth of neonatal blood samples and the electronic health and population data registers. The question that is addressed is whether early life immune challenges (e.g., maternal infections and autoimmune disease) during pregnancy and the neonatal inflammatory response influence ASD risk. The approach is to conduct an epidemiological study in Sweden that links electronic health register data with laboratory data obtained from neonatal blood samples. For example, the Medical Birth Register contains data on the entire prenatal, perinatal, and early postnatal periods for all deliveries in Sweden. While these data have been used in previous Swedish investigations of ASD, they have never been linked with biosamples. The investigators will analyze inflammatory markers in blood samples collected for disease screening purposes (e.g., phenylketonuria or PKU) from all newborns born in Sweden since 1975 and stored at the National PKU Registry. The study utilizes a case-control design using all ASD cases born in Stockholm from 1998 to 2000 (N=648; high-functioning=313, low-functioning=335) and 1:1 age and sex-matched controls (N=648). For this sample, neonatal blood samples will be obtained and linked with register data on mother and child. The specific aims are to: 1) measure markers of inflammation in neonatal blood samples; 2) identify maternal immune and obstetric factors associated with inflammation in NDBS; 3) estimate the associations of inflammatory markers with future risk of ASD, while accommodating a wide range of covariates and confounders from both mother and child. Because inflammatory responses can be stimulated by numerous environmental exposures such as metals, stress, and air pollution, this study promises to provide valuable insight into a centralized mechanism by which varied genetic and environmental challenges may increase ASD risk. In summary, by linking electronic registers with biobank samples, this approach will provide a time-efficient and cost-effective means of fulfilling a 2011 Autism Speaks research priority regarding environmental risk factors.

Funder

Funder

Autism Speaks

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

0

Current Award Period

Current Award Period

2011-2014

Strategic Plan Question

Strategic Plan Question

Question 3: What Caused This To Happen And Can This Be Prevented?

Strategic Plan Objective

Strategic Plan Objective

Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 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. Emphasis 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.

Project Link

Project Link

Early life environmental exposures and autism in an existing Swedish birth cohort (External web link)

Institution

Institution

Drexel University

State/Country

State/Country

Pennsylvania

Project Number

Project Number

7618

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Private

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

Early life environmental exposures and autism in an existing Swedish birth cohort | 0 | 2011 | 7618
Early life environmental exposures and autism in an existing Swedish birth cohort | 149995 | 2012 | 7618
Early life environmental exposures and autism in an existing Swedish birth cohort | 149992 | 2014 | 7618
Early life environmental exposures and autism in an existing Swedish birth cohort | 0 | 2013 | 7618

 
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