, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 403-415

Autism Families with a High Incidence of Alcoholism

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To determine the significance of neuropsychiatric disorders in autism families, we analyzed 167 pedigrees ascertained through an autistic child; 39% had alcoholism in patterns consistent with transmission of a genetic trait. Children from high alcoholism families were more likely to have the onset of their autistic behavior occur with a loss of language (52.5% vs. 35.8%, p = 0.04). This occurred primarily in families where the mother was alcoholic (80% vs. 40%, p = 0.05), suggesting an association between maternal alcoholism and regressive onset autism. Children from high alcoholism families were less likely to be macrocephalic (14.7% vs. 40.6%, p = 0.0006). Children from high alcohol and low alcohol families did not differ in dysmorphology status, IQ, sex ratio or sib recurrence risk.