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Archived News: In Research and Intervention
August 2011

New Study Suggests Risk of Autism Recurrence is Greater than Previously Thought

When looking at a sibling of a child with autism, it was previously estimated that the risk of that sibling having autism was between 3 and 10%. In a recent article, “Recurrence Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Baby Siblings Research Consortium Study,” published in Pediatrics, researchers followed 664 infants across a multisite international network. Each of these infants have an older sibling with ASD. The infants were followed between 8 months and 36 months and at 36 months were classified as having autism or not. Researchers found the overall rate of recurrence in these children to be close to 19%. If the child being followed was a male, the rate of recurrence increased to 26%. If the child has more than one sibling with autism, the rate of recurrence increased to 32%. Although further research is needed, the size of the sample and design of this study suggest the sibling rate may be higher than previously estimates. Clinical implications, such as genetic counseling and early screening, diagnosis and treatment are also discussed.

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