Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 911–916

Can Bronchoscopic Airway Anatomy Be an Indicator of Autism?


DOI: 10.1007/s10803-012-1635-4

Cite this article as:
Stewart, B.A. & Klar, A.J.S. J Autism Dev Disord (2013) 43: 911. doi:10.1007/s10803-012-1635-4


Bronchoscopic evaluations revealed that some children have double branching of bronchi (designated “doublets”) in the lower lungs airways, rather than normal, single branching. Retrospective analyses revealed only one commonality in them: all subjects with doublets also had autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). That is, 49 subjects exhibited the presence of initial normal anatomy in upper airway followed by doublets in the lower airway. In contrast, the normal branching pattern was noted in all the remaining 410 subjects who did not have a diagnosis of autism/ASD. We propose that the presence of doublets might be an objective, reliable, and valid biologic marker of autism/ASD.


AutismAutism spectrum disorder etiologyDoubletsAirway double branchingAirway anomaly

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pediatric Pulmonary Department, Children’s Health CenterSt. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical CenterPhoenixUSA
  2. 2.Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology Laboratory, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer ResearchNational Institutes of HealthFrederickUSA
  3. 3.PensacolaUSA