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Autism spectrum disorders in children of parents with inflammatory bowel disease – a nationwide cohort study in Denmark

Authors Andersen AB, Ehrenstein V, Erichsen R, Frøslev T, Sørensen H

Received 17 December 2013

Accepted for publication 25 February 2014

Published 7 May 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 105—110

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CEG.S59360

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3


Ane Birgitte Telén Andersen, Vera Ehrenstein, Rune Erichsen, Trine Frøslev, Henrik Toft Sørensen

Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark

Purpose: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may share genetic and environmental risk factors. We examined whether parental IBD is associated with an increased risk of ASD in offspring.
Methods: We conducted a registry-based nationwide cohort study including children born alive in Denmark from January 1, 1994 to December 31, 2009, with follow-up throughout 2010. IBD in parents and ASD in offspring were identified using inpatient and outpatient hospital diagnoses. We computed risk of ASD and crude and adjusted incidence rate ratios (aIRRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) using Cox proportional-hazards regression. We evaluated the risk of ASD according to maternal and paternal IBD, and separately for maternal and paternal Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Children with parents free of IBD were the comparison cohort.
Results: We identified 1,005,330 children during the study period. Among them, 11,888 (1.2%) had a parent with IBD and 8,087 (0.8%) had a diagnosis of ASD during up to 17 years of follow-up. The 10-year risks of ASD were 0.7% among children of parents with IBD and 0.9% among children of parents without IBD. The aIRR for ASD among children with parental IBD was 0.8 (95% CI: 0.6–1.0), and results were similar regardless of parent of IBD origin or whether a parent had CD or UC. The estimates were similar for different ASD subtypes.
Conclusion: We found no evidence of an increased risk of ASD among children born to parents with IBD.

Keywords: autistic disorder, children, cohort study, epidemiology, inflammatory bowel disease, parents


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