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Children with regressive autism, immunological tests to Paris

Participants: Elisabeth Fernell, Mats Eriksson, Christopher Gillberg & Marion Leboyer.

Background: Some children with autism have, after developing typically until 18-24 (30) months of age, begun losing skills, regressing or stagnating in their development, primarily in terms of language development but also with regard to their social development.

Our earlier study concerning children registered at autism centres for small children in Stockholm included a little over 200 preschool children, and it turned out that around 10% of these children with autism had suffered a setback, a regression in their development at around 18-30 months of age, and an additional 10% of the children had seen their development “stagnate”, from an initially somewhat delayed development at that age.

The term “regressive autism” is well established and many studies have attempted to find the underlying medical causes behind it. In the large majority of cases, the cause of the “regression” is unclear.

Different possible causes of regression in development at this age have been studied. At the age of 18 months, children are vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella in conjunction with the development control they then go through at the child care centre. Many studies have examined whether this vaccination might be linked to the regression in development that some children with autism exhibit at this specific age. However, as of yet no study has been able to show any such connection.

Method: The purpose of one particular currently ongoing study is to analyse immunological markers to study whether these can be tied to the development of regressive autism. A pilot study is examining one group of children with regressive autism and another group of children with autism who have not experienced a regression in their development. The children in both groups have participated in the prior Stockholm study.

The study has been planned in collaboration between the GNC and prof. Marion Leboyer, INSERM, France, now responsible for the analyses of the immunological tests that are currently underway.

The results will be presented on the GNC website.

Page Manager: Anna Spyrou|Last update: 9/16/2016

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