Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 6, pp 2010–2021 | Cite as

Association of Autism with Maternal Infections, Perinatal and Other Risk Factors: A Case-Control Study

  • Dikran Richard Guisso
  • Fadi S. Saadeh
  • Dahlia Saab
  • Joud El Deek
  • Sarah Chamseddine
  • Hadi Abou El Hassan
  • Ghidaa Majari
  • Rose-Mary Boustany
Original Paper


This case-control study explores the association between pregnancy/birth complications and other factors with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Lebanese subjects aged 2–18 years. Researchers interviewed 136 ASD cases from the American University of Beirut Medical Center Special Kids Clinic, and 178 controls selected by systematic digit dialing in the Greater-Beirut area. Male gender (Adjusted Odds Ratio [95% CI]: 3.9 [2.2–7.0]); postpartum feeding difficulties (2.5 [1.2–5.4]); maternal infections/complications during pregnancy (2.9 [1.5–5.5], 2.1 [1.1–3.9]); consanguinity (2.5 [1.0–6.0]); family history of psychiatric disorders (2.2 [1.1–4.4]) were risk factors for ASD. Being born first/second (0.52 [0.28–0.95]) and maternal psychological support during pregnancy (0.49 [0.27–0.89]) were negatively associated with ASD. Identifying ASD correlates is crucial for instigating timely screening and subsequent early intervention.


Autism Risk factors Maternal infections Perinatal factors Consanguinity 



The authors would like to acknowledge the efforts of Mr. Chris Kaspar for his assistance in data collection. This study was funded by OpenMinds (private foundation/NGO).

Author Contributions

DRG conceived of the study, participated in its design, data collection and interpretation, performed statistical analysis and drafted the manuscript; FSS conceived of the study, participated in its design, data collection and interpretation and drafted the manuscript; DS conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, performed statistical analysis and data interpretation and drafted the manuscript; JED, SC, HAEH and GM conceived of the study, participated in its design, data collection and interpretation, and assisted in drafting the manuscript; RMB conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, interpreted the data and drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10803_2017_3449_MOESM1_ESM.docx (12 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 12 KB)
10803_2017_3449_MOESM2_ESM.docx (31 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 30 KB)
10803_2017_3449_MOESM3_ESM.docx (56 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 56 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of MedicineAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular GeneticsAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon
  3. 3.Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent MedicineAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon

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