DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18203/2320-6012.ijrms20194970

Investigating risk factors for developing autism, cerebral palsy and down syndrome in a Trinidadian population

Sowmya Sagireddy, Shivananda B. Nayak, Natasha Brewster, Varsha Nanan, Rajiv Harry, Mikhail Ali, Alexander Fraser, Rachelle Greaves, Visham Singh, Sally Barclay

Abstract


Background: Autism, Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome are three lifelong, non-curable common developmental disorders that affect approximately 1 in 59, 1 in 323, and 1 in 700 children respectively. This research is to study the effects of prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal factors on the development of Autism, Cerebral Palsy (CP) and Down Syndrome (DS) in a Trinidadian population.

Methods: This was a descriptive case-control study comprised 75 subjects, with 25 cases from each of the three disorders investigated, i.e. autism, CP and DS.

Results: The highest risk of autism was associated with mothers having high stress levels (p=0.002), high blood pressure (0.042), and low iron levels (p=0.012) during the pregnancy, as well as having a family history of autism (p=0.002) and residing in an air polluted area (p=0.034). The highest risk of cerebral palsy was associated with a child being born preterm (case 24%, control 0; p=0.009), experiencing postnatal complications (case 80%, control 4%, p=0.000), having a birth weight less than 2500 g (p=0.002), having an abnormal appearance at birth (p=0.045), specifically the prevalence of blue baby (case 20%, control 0) and abnormal appearance (case 12%, control 4%), a case father having a low educational level (p=0.002), a case of mother having gestational diabetes during the pregnancy (p=0.037) and having older mothers (p=0.033) and fathers (p=0.033) than the controls. The highest risk of down syndrome was associated with mothers having high stress (p=0.017) and blood pressure (p=0.021) during pregnancy.

Conclusions: The findings of our research confirm that autism, CP and DS are multi-factorial developmental disorders. A combination of environmental conditions, genetics, prenatal and postnatal factors are associated with an increased risk of developing autism, cerebral and down syndrome.


Keywords


Autism, Cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Perinatal, Postnatal, Prenatal

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