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Browsing by Author "Oristo, Sini"

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  • Oristo, Sini (2019)
    Objectives Autism generally refers to lingual, communicational and behavioral continuous traits, which are determined by genetics as well as environment. The purpose of this study was to examine to which extent the genetic autism risk explains the variation in autistic traits in two-year-old children in the normal population. Additionally the impact of the genetic autism risk was examined in conditions, where the mother of the child suffered from depressive symptoms during pregnancy and/or had alexithymia (trouble identifying feelings). Methods The sample was collected from the Child-Sleep cohort study (n=942). The child’s genetic autism risk was calculated by comparing the child’s genome with the genome of people with an autism diagnosis. All of the other information was collected with questionnaires. The child’s autistic traits were assessed according to the autism scale in BITSEA. The mother’s depressive symptoms during pregnancy were assessed according to the Ces-d (short) questionnaire and her trouble identifying feelings according to the TAS-20-questionnaire. The connections between the variables were examined with Pearson’s correlation coefficient. The autistic traits were examined with linear regression analysis. Results and conclusions The genetic autism risk explained 2% of the variation in the autistic traits of two-year-old children in the normal population. This result is in line with previous studies. Gender (autistic traits were more prevalent in males), maternal adolescence and the degree of maternal alexithymia were the best predictors of an autistic phenotype. Generally maternal maturity is considered a risk factor for the child’s more autistic phenotype, whereas our result possibly points out that the risk is rather created by paternal maturity instead. In addition of identifying the greatest risk factors, interactions between the genetic risk of autism and the psychological factors of the mother (depressive symptoms during pregnancy and trouble identifying emotions) were examined. However, these interactions were not statistically significant in this study. The impact of genes is already a verified fact – the next goal is to identify environments, where the genes interact, creating a more autistic phenotype.