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Newborn vitamin D levels in relation to autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disability: A case-control study in california

Vitamin D deficiency has been increasing concurrently with prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and emerging evidence suggests vitamin D is involved in brain development. Most prior studies of ASD examined vitamin D levels in children already diagnosed, but a few examined levels during perinatal development, the more likely susceptibility period. Therefore, we examined newborn vitamin D levels in a case-control study conducted among births in 2000-2003 in southern California. Children with ASD (N?=?563) or intellectual disability (ID) (N?=?190) were identified from the Department of Developmental Services and compared to population controls (N?=?436) identified from birth certificates. 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) was measured in archived newborn dried blood spots by a sensitive assay and corrected to sera equivalents. We categorized 25(OH) D levels as deficient (<50?nmol/L), insufficient (50-74?nmol/L), and sufficient (?75?nmol/L), and also examined continuous levels, using logistic regression. The adjusted odds ratios (AOR) and 95% confidence intervals for ASD were 0.96 (0.64-1.4) for 25(OH)D deficiency (14% of newborns) and 1.2 (0.86-1.6) for insufficiency (26% of newborns). The AORs for continuous 25(OH)D (per 25?nmol/L) were 1.0 (0.91-1.09) for ASD and 1.14 (1.0-1.30) for ID. Thus, in this relatively large study of measured newborn vitamin D levels, our results do not support the hypothesis of lower 25(OH)D being associated with higher risk of ASD (or ID), although we observed suggestion of interactions with sex and race/ethnicity. 25(OH)D levels were relatively high (median 84?nmol/L in controls), so results may differ in populations with higher prevalence of low vitamin D levels. Autism Res 2019, 12: 989-998. © 2019 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. LAY SUMMARY: We studied whether vitamin D levels measured at birth were related to whether a child later developed autism (or low IQ). Our results did not show that children with autism, or low IQ, overall had lower vitamin D levels at birth than children without autism. Vitamin D levels were fairly high, on average, in these children born in Southern California.

Authors: Windham GC; Pearl M; Anderson MC; Poon V; Eyles D; Jones KL; Lyall K; Kharrazi M; Croen LA

Autism Res. 2019 06;12(6):989-998. Epub 2019-03-18.

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