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Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder in Family May Cause Autism in Children

Update Date: Jul 05, 2012 06:03 AM EDT

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Autism spectrum disorders, which range from mild Asperger syndrome to severe mental retardation and social disability in childhood autism, are diagnosed in about one in 88 children in the U.S.

Researchers have been working towards identifying the cause behind Autism, the developmental disorder which existing for years and affecting millions of children around the world. The disorder has been existing for years and has been on a rise recently. Various researchers have been conducted to find out the cause behind the disorder, including a recent study in Finland which claims that babies that are born smaller are at a slight risk of developing autism.

A latest study suggests that children whose parents or siblings have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder could be at an increased risk of developing the disorder.

The research is based on a study of the medical history of people in Sweden and Isreal.

The research led by Dr. Patrick Sullivan of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says that having a family history of schizophrenia in relatives tripled the chances of a child contracting the disorder.

Also, if a first degree relative of a child, i.e parents or siblings has bipolar disorder, then the odds of the child developing autism disorder raises, but with marginal effect.

The research has not established a cause and effect relationship between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and autism spectrum disorders. It only established an association.

In fact, says a report in Reuters, that all three disorders might have causative factors in common.

"Future research could usefully attempt to discern risk factors common to these disorders," Sullivan and his team wrote.

"Clinically, we have known that these disorders have been linked for some time," said Dr. Victor Fornari, director of the division of child/adolescent psychiatry at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, N.Y. "Future studies may clarify the nature of the etiological [causative] link."

The study appeared online July 2 in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.

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