In another sign pointing to an inherited component to autism, a study released today by the American Academy of Pediatrics in Chicago found that having a schizophrenic parent or a mother with psychiatric problems roughly doubled a child's risk of being autistic.
"Our research shows that mothers and fathers diagnosed with schizophrenia were about twice as likely to have a child diagnosed with autism," said Julie Daniels of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who worked on the study.
"We also saw higher rates of depression and personality disorders among mothers, but not fathers," she said in a statement.
The study of families in Sweden with children born between 1977 and 2003 involved 1,227 children diagnosed with autism. They were compared with families of nearly 31,000 children who did not have autism.