A Family History Study of Asperger Syndrome
Asperger syndrome (AS) is a childhood-onset disorder often described as a mild variant of autism. Although classified as a distinct disorder in the DSM-IV, its overlap with autism continues to be a matter of ongoing debate. While the family genetic origins of autism are well established, few studies have investigated this topic in AS using current operational criteria. In this report, we examined the family psychiatric history of 58 subjects with AS diagnosed according to DSM-IV criteria (48 males; mean age 13.34; mean full scale IQ 104.87). All subjects had a history of mild autistic social deficits; focused special interests; normal level of intelligence; and an odd and often pedantic manner of speaking. None had a previous diagnosis of autism. Of the 58 subjects with Asperger syndrome, three had first degree relatives with AS; nine (15%) had a family history of schizophrenia; and 35 (60%) had a family history of depression. Of the 64 siblings, four had a diagnosis of AS and none of autism. Compared with a group of 39 subjects with normal intelligence autism (high functioning autism, HFA; 33 males; mean age 15.34; mean full scale IQ 85.89) subjects with AS were more likely to have relatives with depression; schizophrenia; and the broader autistic phenotype. Possible reasons for and implications of these findings are discussed.
Keywords Asperger syndrome autism depression schizophrenia family history genetics References American Psychiatric Association 1994Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: Fourth edition APA Washington Google Scholar Asperger, H. 1944 Die autistischen Psychopathen im Kindersalter Archiv fur Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten 117 76 136 Google Scholar Bailey, A., Le Couteur, A., Gottesman, I., Bolton, P., Simonoff, E., Yuzda, E., Rutter, M. 1995 Autism as a strongly genetic disorder: Evidence from a British twin study Psychological Medicine 25 63 77 Google Scholar Bolton, P., Macdonald, H., Pickles, A., Rios, P., Goode, S., Crowson, M., Bailey, A., Rutter, M. 1994 A case–control family history study of autism Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 35 877 900 Google Scholar Dykens, E., Volkmar, F., Glick, M. 1991 Thought disorder in high-functioning autistic adults Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 21 291 301 Google Scholar Ehlers, S., Gillberg, C., Wing, L. 1999 A screening questionnaire for Asperger syndrome and other high-functioning autism spectrum disorders in school age children Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 29 129 41 Google Scholar Fombonne, E., Tidmarsh, L. 2003 Epidemiologic data on Asperger disorder Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America 12 15 21 Google Scholar Fostein, S., Stangelo, S. L. 2000 Does Asperger syndrome aggregate in families? Klin Volkmar Sparrow, A. F. S. S. eds. Asperger syndrome Guliford Press New York Google Scholar Ghaziuddin, M., Tsai, L., Ghaziuddin, N. 1992 A comparison of the diagnostic criteria for Asperger syndrome Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 22 643 649 Google Scholar Ghaziuddin, N., Metler, L., Ghaziuddin, M., Tsai, L., Giordani, B. 1993 Three siblings with Asperger syndrome: A family case study European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2 44 49 Google Scholar Ghaziuddin, M., Leininger, L, Tsai, L. 1995 Thought disorder in Asperger syndrome: Comparison with high-functioning autism Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 25 311 317 Google Scholar Gillberg, C. 1989 Asperger syndrome in 23 Swedish children Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 31 520 531 Google Scholar Gillberg, C. 1998 Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism British Journal of Psychiatry 172 200 209 Google Scholar Kendler, K. S., McGuire, M., Gruenberg, A. M., O’Hare, A., Spellman, M., Walsh, D. 1993 The Roscommon family study: III Schizophrenia-related personality disorders in relatives Archives of General Psychiatry 50 781 788 Google Scholar Krug, D. A., Arick, J., Almond, P. 1980 Behavior checklist for identifying severely handicapped individuals with high levels of autistic behavior Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 21 221 229 Google Scholar Lord, C., Rutter, M., Couteur, A. 1994 Autism diagnostic interview – revised: A revised version of a diagnostic interview for caregivers of individuals with possible pervasive developmental disorders Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 24 659 685 Google Scholar McKenna, K., Gordon, C. T., Lenane, M., Kaysen, D., Fahey, K., Rapoport, J. L. 1994 Looking for childhood-onset schizophrenia: the first 71 cases screened Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 33 636 44 Google Scholar Miller, J. N., Ozonoff, S. 1997 Did Asperger’s cases have Asperger disorder? A research note Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 38 247 251 Google Scholar Parnas, J., Cannon, T. D., Jacobsen, B., Schulsinger, H., Schulsinger, F., Mednick, S. A. 1993 Lifetime DSM-III-R diagnostic outcomes in the offspring of schizophrenic mothers: Results from the Copenhagen high-risk study Archives of General Psychiatry 50 707 714 Google Scholar Petty, L. K., Ornitz, E. M., Michelman, J. D., Zimmerman, E. G. 1984 Autistic children who become schizophrenic Archives of General Psychiatry 41 129 35 Google Scholar Piven, J., Chase, G. A., Landa, R., Wzorek, M., Gayle, J., Cloud, D., Folstein, S. 1991 Psychiatric disorders in the parents of autistic individuals Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 30 471 478 Google Scholar Piven, J., Wzorek, M., Landa, R., Lainhart, J., Bolton, P., Chase, G. A., Folstein, S. 1994 Personality characteristics of the parents of autistic individuals Psychological Medicine 24 783 795 Google Scholar Rutter, M. 1972 Childhood schizophrenia reconsidered Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia 2 315 337 Google Scholar Spiker, D., Lotspeich, L. J., Dimiceli, S., Myers, R. M., Risch, 2002 Behavioral phenotypic variation in autism multiplex families: Evidence for a continuous severity gradient American Journal of Medical Genetics (Neuropsychiatric Genetics) 114 129 136 Google Scholar Stahlberg, O., Soderstrom, H., Rastam, M., Gillberg, C. 2004 Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other psychotic disorders in adults with childhood onset AD/HD and/or autism spectrum disorders Journal of Neural Transmission 111 891 902 Google Scholar Krevelen, D. A. 1971 Early infantile autism and autistic psychopathy Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia 1 82 86 Google Scholar Volkmar, F., Klin, A., Schultz, R., Bronen, R., Marans, W. D., Sparrow, S., Cohen, D. J. 1996 Asperger’s Syndrome Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 35 118 1123 Google Scholar Wing, L. 1981 Asperger’s syndrome: A clinical account Psychological Medicine 11 115 129 Google Scholar Wolff, S., Chick, J. 1980 Schizoid personality in childhood: A controlled follow-up study Psychological Medicine 10 85 100 Google Scholar Ylisaukko-oja, T., Nieminen-von Wendt, T., Kempas, E., Sarenius, S., Varilo, T., Wendt, L., Peltonen, L., Jarvela, I. 2004 Genome-wide scan for loci of Asperger syndrome Molecular Psychiatry 9 161 168 Google Scholar Copyright information
© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005