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Association between Prenatal Environmental Factors and Child Autism: A Case Control Study in Tianjin, China.



To investigate the association between autism and prenatal environmental risk factors.


A case-control study was conducted among 193 children with autism from the special educational schools and 733 typical development controls matched by age and gender by using questionnaire in Tianjin from 2007 to 2012. Statistical analysis included quick unbiased efficient statistical tree (QUEST) and logistic regression in SPSS 20.0.


There were four predictors by QUEST and the logistic regression analysis, maternal air conditioner use during pregnancy (OR=0.316, 95% CI: 0.215-0.463) was the single first-level node (χ²=50.994, P=0.000); newborn complications (OR=4.277, 95% CI: 2.314-7.908) and paternal consumption of freshwater fish (OR=0.383, 95% CI: 0.256-0.573) were second-layer predictors (χ²=45.248, P=0.000; χ²=24.212, P=0.000); and maternal depression (OR=4.822, 95% CI: 3.047-7.631) was the single third-level predictor (χ²=23.835, P=0.000). The prediction accuracy of the tree was 89.2%.


The air conditioner use during pregnancy and paternal freshwater fish diet might be beneficial for the prevention of autism, while newborn complications and maternal depression might be the risk factors.

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