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Descriptive epidemiology of autism in a California population: who is at risk?

We investigated the association between selected infant and maternal characteristics and autism risk. Children with autism born in California in 1989-1994 were identified through service agency records and compared with the total population of California live births for selected characteristics recorded on the birth certificate. Multivariate models were used to generate adjusted risk estimates. From a live birth population of more than 3.5 million, 4381 children with autism were identified. Increased risks were observed for males, multiple births, and children born to black mothers. Risk increased as maternal age and maternal education increased. Children born to immigrant mothers had similar or decreased risk compared with California-born mothers. Environmental factors associated with these demographic characteristics may interact with genetic vulnerability to increase the risk of autism.

Authors: Croen LA; Grether JK; Selvin S

J Autism Dev Disord. 2002 Jun;32(3):217-24.

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