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Prenatal depression and risk of child autism-related traits among participants in the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes program

This study evaluated the association between prenatal depression and offspring autism-related traits. The sample comprised 33 prenatal/pediatric cohorts participating in the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes program who contributed information on prenatal depression and autism-related traits. Autism-related traits were…

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Short report: Recommendations for education, clinical practice, research, and policy on promoting well-being in autistic youth and adults through a positive focus on sexuality and gender diversity

In this article, we propose recommendations on what we can do to promote that autistic people can enjoy their sexuality and gender identity, because that contributes to overall well-being.First, we briefly summarize the existing research on sexuality and gender diversity…

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A Comparative Analysis of the Full and Short Versions of the Social Responsiveness Scale in Estimating an Established Autism Risk Factor Association in ECHO: Do we Get the Same Estimates?

Prior work developed a shortened 16-item version of the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), a quantitative measure of social communication and autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-related traits. However, its properties for use in risk factor estimation have not been fully tested compared…

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Associations of prenatal exposure to a mixture of persistent organic pollutants with social traits and cognitive and adaptive function in early childhood: Findings from the EARLI study

Literature suggests that maternal exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) may influence child neurodevelopment. Evidence linking prenatal POPs and autism spectrum disorder has been inconclusive and few studies have examined the mixture effect of the POPs on autism-related traits. To…

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Developing a National-Scale Exposure Index for Combined Environmental Hazards and Social Stressors and Applications to the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Cohort

Tools for assessing multiple exposures across several domains (e.g., physical, chemical, and social) are of growing importance in social and environmental epidemiology because of their value in uncovering disparities and their impact on health outcomes. Here we describe work done…

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Neonatal immune signatures differ by sex regardless of neurodevelopmental disorder status: Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) alone reveals a sex by diagnosis interaction effect

Immune dysregulation, including aberrant peripheral cytokine/chemokine levels, is implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD) such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While the diagnosis of ASD is more common in males compared to females, sex effects in immune dysregulation related to neurodevelopment…

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Opportunities for Inclusion and Engagement in the Transition of Autistic Youth from Pediatric to Adult Healthcare: A Qualitative Study

Transitioning autistic youth from pediatric to adult healthcare requires coordination of multiple stakeholders, including youth, caregivers, and pediatric and adult care providers, whose interests at times overlap but often differ. To understand barriers and facilitators to inclusive transition experiences, we…

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Assessment of Psychosocial and Neonatal Risk Factors for Trajectories of Behavioral Dysregulation Among Young Children From 18 to 72 Months of Age

Emotional and behavioral dysregulation during early childhood are associated with severe psychiatric, behavioral, and cognitive disorders through adulthood. Identifying the earliest antecedents of persisting emotional and behavioral dysregulation can inform risk detection practices and targeted interventions to promote adaptive developmental…

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Examining shortened versions of the Social Responsiveness Scale for use in autism spectrum disorder prediction and as a quantitative trait measure: Results from a validation study of 3-5 year old children

The Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) is a 65-item measure yielding a continuous score capturing autism-related traits. Scores based on SRS item subsets have been analytically examined but administration of shortened versions has not been evaluated prospectively. The goal of this…

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SEED Follow-Up Study

SEED is a case-control study comparing children aged 2-5 years with autism spectrum disorder to children with other developmental disabilities. The SEED Follow-up Study is a longitudinal study designed to improve understanding of risk factors and expression of autism spectrum…

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Peri-Pregnancy Cannabis Use and Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Offspring: Findings from the Study to Explore Early Development

The association of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with self-reported maternal cannabis use from 3 months pre-conception to delivery ("peri-pregnancy") was assessed in children aged 30-68 months, born 2003 to 2011. Children with ASD (N = 1428) were compared to children with other developmental delays/disorders…

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Cardiometabolic Pregnancy Complications in Association with Autism-Related Traits as Measured by the Social Responsiveness Scale in ECHO

Prior work has examined associations between cardiometabolic pregnancy complications and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) but not how these complications may relate to social communication traits more broadly. We addressed this question within the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes program,…

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Associations between combined exposure to environmental hazards and social stressors at the neighborhood level and individual perinatal outcomes in the ECHO-wide cohort

Limited studies examine how prenatal environmental and social exposures jointly impact perinatal health. Here we investigated relationships between a neighborhood-level combined exposure (CE) index assessed during pregnancy and perinatal outcomes, including birthweight, gestational age, and preterm birth. Across all participants,…

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Examining associations between prenatal biomarkers of oxidative stress and ASD-related outcomes using quantile regression

We examined associations between prenatal oxidative stress (OS) and child autism-related outcomes. Women with an autistic child were followed through a subsequent pregnancy and that younger sibling's childhood. Associations between glutathione (GSH), glutathione disulfide (GSSG), 8-oxo-deoxyguanine (8-OHdG), and nitrotyrosine and…

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The Association of Prenatal Vitamins and Folic Acid Supplement Intake with Odds of Autism Spectrum Disorder in a High-Risk Sibling Cohort, the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI)

We examined maternal prenatal vitamin use or supplemental folic acid intake during month one of pregnancy for association with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation, an enriched-risk pregnancy cohort. Total folic acid intake was calculated…

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Autistic people join autism project – as research partners

A group of Kaiser Permanente investigators is inviting their study subjects — autistic people — to participate as research partners, providing their own unique perspective on being autistic. Their initial focus is on gender, sexuality, and reproductive health in autism, but once trained, the advisers could help shape any future research project.
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Contributions of COVID-19 Pandemic-Related Stressors to Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Mental Health During Pregnancy

This study aimed to identify racial and ethnic disparities in prenatal mental health and identify COVID-19 pandemic-related health/healthcare and economic contributors to these disparities, using an established framework for disparity investigation. This cross-sectional study includes 10,930 pregnant people at Kaiser…

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Distributional Properties and Criterion Validity of a Shortened Version of the Social Responsiveness Scale: Results from the ECHO Program and Implications for Social Communication Research

Prior work proposed a shortened version of the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), a commonly used quantitative measure of social communication traits. We used data from 3031 participants (including 190 ASD cases) from the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO)…

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Study finds no link between autism and common antidepressant when used in pregnancy

Mothers with psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety were more likely to have a child with autism than mothers without such conditions, new research led by Kaiser Permanente investigators finds. But the analysis found no association between use of common antidepressants by pregnant women and likelihood of autism in their children.
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Evaluation of sex differences in preschool children with and without autism spectrum disorder enrolled in the study to explore early development

Research in school-aged children, adolescents, and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has found sex-based differences in behavioral, developmental, and diagnostic outcomes. These findings have not been consistently replicated in preschool-aged children. We examined sex-based differences in a large sample…

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Prenatal Multivitamin Use and MTHFR Genotype Are Associated with Newborn Cord Blood DNA Methylation

Fetal development involves cellular differentiation and epigenetic changes-complex processes that are sensitive to environmental factors. Maternal nutrient levels during pregnancy affect development, and methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) is important for processing the nutrient folate. We hypothesize that supplement intake before…

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Maternal Vitamin D Levels During Pregnancy in Association With Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or Intellectual Disability (ID) in Offspring; Exploring Non-linear Patterns and Demographic Sub-groups

Increasing vitamin D deficiency and evidence for vitamin D's role in brain and immune function have recently led to studies of neurodevelopment; however, few are specific to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and vitamin D in pregnancy, a likely susceptibility period.…

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Cord blood DNA methylome in newborns later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder reflects early dysregulation of neurodevelopmental and X-linked genes

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with complex heritability and higher prevalence in males. The neonatal epigenome has the potential to reflect past interactions between genetic and environmental factors during early development and influence future health outcomes. We…

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COVID-19 Response Grant

Adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities may be especially impacted by the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has led to drastic changes in usual daily routines and the way healthcare encounters have been transitioned to virtual (video, telephone) visits. This project…

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Neonatal Thyroid Stimulating Hormone and Subsequent Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Intellectual Disability

Hypothyroid conditions in early life, if left untreated, are associated with adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes, including intellectual disability (ID). However, evidence addressing the role of neonatal thyroid hormone insufficiencies in the altered neurobiology underlying autism spectrum disorders (ASD), particularly among its…

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A meta-analysis of two high-risk prospective cohort studies reveals autism-specific transcriptional changes to chromatin, autoimmune, and environmental response genes in umbilical cord blood

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects more than 1% of children in the USA. ASD risk is thought to arise from both genetic and environmental factors, with the perinatal period as a critical window. Understanding early…

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Brief Report: Maternal Opioid Prescription from Preconception Through Pregnancy and the Odds of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Autism Features in Children

Opioid use during pregnancy is associated with suboptimal pregnancy outcomes. Little is known about child neurodevelopmental outcomes. We examined associations between maternal opioid prescriptions preconception to delivery (peri-pregnancy) and child's risk of ASD, developmental delay/disorder (DD) with no ASD features,…

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Prenatal Maternal Serum Concentrations of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Association with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability

Emerging work has examined neurodevelopmental outcomes following prenatal exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), but few studies have assessed associations with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Our objective was to estimate associations of maternal prenatal PFAS concentrations with ASD and…

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Maternal BMI at the start of pregnancy and offspring epigenome-wide DNA methylation: findings from the pregnancy and childhood epigenetics (PACE) consortium

Pre-pregnancy maternal obesity is associated with adverse offspring outcomes at birth and later in life. Individual studies have shown that epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation could contribute. Within the Pregnancy and Childhood Epigenetics (PACE) Consortium, we meta-analysed the association…

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Maternal and Paternal Infertility Disorders and Treatments and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Findings from the Study to Explore Early Development

Previous studies of associations between ASD and conception using assisted reproductive technology (ART) are inconsistent and few studies have examined associations with other infertility treatments or infertility disorders. We examined associations between ASD and maternal/paternal infertility disorders and numerous maternal…

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Prenatal Serum Concentrations of Brominated Flame Retardants and Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability in the Early Markers of Autism Study: A Population-Based Case-Control Study in California

Prior studies suggest neurodevelopmental impacts of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), but few have examined diagnosed developmental disorders. Our aim was to determine whether prenatal exposure to brominated flame retardants (BFRs) is associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or intellectual disability…

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Demographic and Clinical Characteristics Associated with Engagement in Behavioral Health Treatment Among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

This study investigates demographic and clinical factors associated with initiation, continuation, and adherence to behavioral health treatment (BHT) among children with autism spectrum disorder. Among 293 insured children referred for applied behavior analysis (ABA) based BHT, 23% never initiated treatment.…

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Polychlorinated Biphenyl and Organochlorine Pesticide Concentrations in Maternal Mid-Pregnancy Serum Samples: Association with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) are neurodevelopmental toxicants, but few studies have examined associations with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We aimed to determine whether prenatal exposure to PCBs and OCPs influences offspring risk of ASD and intellectual disability…

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Independent Maternal and Fetal Genetic Effects on Mid-gestational Circulating Levels of Environmental Pollutants

Maternal exposure to environmental pollutants could affect fetal brain development and increase autism spectrum disorder (ASD) risk in conjunction with differential genetic susceptibility. Organohalogen congeners measured in maternal midpregnancy blood samples have recently shown significant, but negative associations with offspring…

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California CADDRE-SEED Phase II

The goal of this project is to continue the SEED study, a case-control study of genetic and environmental risk factors for autism. The major goal of the project is to conduct a multi-site collaborative epidemiologic study to investigate risk and…

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The Kaiser Permanente Northern California research program on genes, environment, and health (RPGEH) pregnancy cohort: study design, methodology and baseline characteristics

Exposures during the prenatal period may have lasting effects on maternal and child health outcomes. To better understand the effects of the in utero environment on children's short- and long-term health, large representative pregnancy cohorts with comprehensive information on a…

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Demographic profile of families and children in the Study to Explore Early Development (SEED): Case-control study of autism spectrum disorder

The Study to Explore Early Development (SEED) is designed to enhance knowledge of autism spectrum disorder characteristics and etiologies. This paper describes the demographic profile of enrolled families and examines sociodemographic differences between children with autism spectrum disorder and children…

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Characterizing Race/Ethnicity and Genetic Ancestry for 100,000 Subjects in the Genetic Epidemiology Research on Adult Health and Aging (GERA) Cohort

Using genome-wide genotypes, we characterized the genetic structure of 103,006 participants in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California multi-ethnic Genetic Epidemiology Research on Adult Health and Aging Cohort and analyzed the relationship to self-reported race/ethnicity. Participants endorsed any of 23 race/ethnicity/nationality…

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Automated Assay of Telomere Length Measurement and Informatics for 100,000 Subjects in the Genetic Epidemiology Research on Adult Health and Aging (GERA) Cohort

The Kaiser Permanente Research Program on Genes, Environment, and Health (RPGEH) Genetic Epidemiology Research on Adult Health and Aging (GERA) cohort includes DNA specimens extracted from saliva samples of 110,266 individuals. Because of its relationship to aging, telomere length measurement…

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Genotyping Informatics and Quality Control for 100,000 Subjects in the Genetic Epidemiology Research on Adult Health and Aging (GERA) Cohort

The Kaiser Permanente (KP) Research Program on Genes, Environment and Health (RPGEH), in collaboration with the University of California-San Francisco, undertook genome-wide genotyping of >100,000 subjects that constitute the Genetic Epidemiology Research on Adult Health and Aging (GERA) cohort. The…

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The Study to Explore Early Development (SEED): A Multisite Epidemiologic Study of Autism by the Centers for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE) Network

The Study to Explore Early Development (SEED), a multisite investigation addressing knowledge gaps in autism phenotype and etiology, aims to: (1) characterize the autism behavioral phenotype and associated developmental, medical, and behavioral conditions and (2) investigate genetic and environmental risks…

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Mothers of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: health conditions and medical care utilization in periods before and after birth of the child

BACKGROUND: Analyzing health conditions and medical utilization of mothers of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can shed light on biologic, environmental, and psychosocial factors relating to ADHD. OBJECTIVE: To examine health conditions, health care utilization, and costs of mothers of…

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Decreased transforming growth factor beta1 in autism: a potential link between immune dysregulation and impairment in clinical behavioral outcomes

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by impairment in social interactions, communication deficits, and restricted repetitive interests and behaviors. There is evidence of both immune dysregulation and autoimmune phenomena in autism. We examined the regulatory cytokine transforming growth factor beta-1…

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Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children: excess costs before and after initial diagnosis and treatment cost differences by ethnicity

OBJECTIVES: To estimate the excess costs for children in the years surrounding initial diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and to estimate differences in treatment costs by ethnicity. DESIGN: We identified children diagnosed with ADHD and estimated their health service costs…

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On the twin risk in autism

Autism is considered by many to be the most strongly genetically influenced multifactorial childhood psychiatric disorder. In the absence of any known gene or genes, the main support for this is derived from family and twin studies. Two recent studies…

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