Factors in Infancy That May Predict Autism Spectrum Disorder

Mina Gurevitz, Gerry Leisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The global increase in the prevalence of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is of great medical importance, but the reasons for this increase are still unknown. This study sought to identify possible early contributing factors in children who were later diagnosed with ASD. In this retrospective cohort study, postnatal records of 1105 children diagnosed with ASD were analyzed to determine if any signs of ASD could be found in a large database of births and well-baby care programs. We compared the recordings of typically developing children and analyzed the differences statistically. Rapid increases in weight, height, and head circumference during early infancy predict the development of ASD. In addition, low birth weight, older maternal age, and increased weight and height percentiles at six months of age together predict the development of ASD. At two years of age, these four parameters, in addition to impaired motor development, can also predict the development of ASD. These results suggest that the recent increase in ASD prevalence is associated with the “obesity epidemic” and with recommendations of supine sleeping to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, associated with atypical neural network development in the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1374
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - 27 Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • autism biomarkers
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • early intervention
  • head circumference
  • obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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