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Sex differences in the association between infant markers and later autistic traits.

Bedford R, Jones EJ, Johnson MH, Pickles A, Charman T, Gliga T - Mol Autism (2016)

Bottom Line: While no sex differences were found in any of the three markers investigated, we found sex differences in their relationship to 3-year autism traits; all three markers significantly predicted later autism traits only in the boys.Previously identified 'early autism markers' were associated with later autism symptoms only in boys.This suggests that there may be additional moderating risk or protective factors which remain to be identified.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Biostatistics Department, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, London, UK.

ABSTRACT

Background: Although it is well established that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is higher in males than females, there is relatively little understanding of the underlying mechanisms and their developmental time course. Sex-specific protective or risk factors have often been invoked to explain these differences, but such factors are yet to be identified.

Methods: We take a developmental approach, using a prospective sample of 104 infants at high and low familial risk for ASD, to characterise sex differences in infant markers known to predict emerging autism symptoms. We examine three markers previously shown to be associated with later autistic social-communication symptoms: the Autism Observation Scale for Infants (AOSI) total score, attention disengagement speed and gaze following behaviour. Our aim was to test whether sex differences were already present in these markers at 1 year of age, which would suggest sex-specific mechanisms of risk or protection.

Results: While no sex differences were found in any of the three markers investigated, we found sex differences in their relationship to 3-year autism traits; all three markers significantly predicted later autism traits only in the boys.

Conclusions: Previously identified 'early autism markers' were associated with later autism symptoms only in boys. This suggests that there may be additional moderating risk or protective factors which remain to be identified. Our findings have important implications for prospective studies in terms of directly testing for the moderating effect of sex on emerging autistic traits.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

a The relationship between infant AOSI and 3-year ADOS outcome with smoothed lowess curves for males and females. b The relationship between infant AOSI and 3-year ADOS outcome with linear fit for males and females
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Fig2: a The relationship between infant AOSI and 3-year ADOS outcome with smoothed lowess curves for males and females. b The relationship between infant AOSI and 3-year ADOS outcome with linear fit for males and females

Mentions: A smoothed lowess curve indicated good overlap between males and females across the range of scores (see Fig. 2). A linear regression showed a significant relationship between AOSI and ADOS score (β = 0.527, p < 0.001) and a significant sex*AOSI interaction (β = −0.44, p = 0.005). When this was broken down by sex, AOSI was a significant predictor of ADOS in males (β = 0.57, p < 0.001) but not in females (β = −0.015, p = 0.905). Results were similar across high- and low-risk groups with significant effects in males (high risk: β = 0.588, p = 0.005; low risk: β = 0.542, p = 0.03) but not in females (high risk: β = −0.29, p = 0.113; low risk: β = 0.059, p = 0.75). Significance levels remained unchanged when Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL) verbal and non-verbal t scores were added as covariates (see Additional file 1).Fig. 2


Sex differences in the association between infant markers and later autistic traits.

Bedford R, Jones EJ, Johnson MH, Pickles A, Charman T, Gliga T - Mol Autism (2016)

a The relationship between infant AOSI and 3-year ADOS outcome with smoothed lowess curves for males and females. b The relationship between infant AOSI and 3-year ADOS outcome with linear fit for males and females
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4815081&req=5

Fig2: a The relationship between infant AOSI and 3-year ADOS outcome with smoothed lowess curves for males and females. b The relationship between infant AOSI and 3-year ADOS outcome with linear fit for males and females
Mentions: A smoothed lowess curve indicated good overlap between males and females across the range of scores (see Fig. 2). A linear regression showed a significant relationship between AOSI and ADOS score (β = 0.527, p < 0.001) and a significant sex*AOSI interaction (β = −0.44, p = 0.005). When this was broken down by sex, AOSI was a significant predictor of ADOS in males (β = 0.57, p < 0.001) but not in females (β = −0.015, p = 0.905). Results were similar across high- and low-risk groups with significant effects in males (high risk: β = 0.588, p = 0.005; low risk: β = 0.542, p = 0.03) but not in females (high risk: β = −0.29, p = 0.113; low risk: β = 0.059, p = 0.75). Significance levels remained unchanged when Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL) verbal and non-verbal t scores were added as covariates (see Additional file 1).Fig. 2

Bottom Line: While no sex differences were found in any of the three markers investigated, we found sex differences in their relationship to 3-year autism traits; all three markers significantly predicted later autism traits only in the boys.Previously identified 'early autism markers' were associated with later autism symptoms only in boys.This suggests that there may be additional moderating risk or protective factors which remain to be identified.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Biostatistics Department, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, London, UK.

ABSTRACT

Background: Although it is well established that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is higher in males than females, there is relatively little understanding of the underlying mechanisms and their developmental time course. Sex-specific protective or risk factors have often been invoked to explain these differences, but such factors are yet to be identified.

Methods: We take a developmental approach, using a prospective sample of 104 infants at high and low familial risk for ASD, to characterise sex differences in infant markers known to predict emerging autism symptoms. We examine three markers previously shown to be associated with later autistic social-communication symptoms: the Autism Observation Scale for Infants (AOSI) total score, attention disengagement speed and gaze following behaviour. Our aim was to test whether sex differences were already present in these markers at 1 year of age, which would suggest sex-specific mechanisms of risk or protection.

Results: While no sex differences were found in any of the three markers investigated, we found sex differences in their relationship to 3-year autism traits; all three markers significantly predicted later autism traits only in the boys.

Conclusions: Previously identified 'early autism markers' were associated with later autism symptoms only in boys. This suggests that there may be additional moderating risk or protective factors which remain to be identified. Our findings have important implications for prospective studies in terms of directly testing for the moderating effect of sex on emerging autistic traits.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus