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Vol. 47, No. 4, 2003
Issue release date: June 2003
Neuropsychobiology 2003;47:171–177

Case-Control Family Study of Lesser Variant Traits in Autism

Wilcox J.A. · Tsuang M.T. · Schnurr T. · Baida-Fragoso N.
aDepartment of Psychiatry, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, Tex., and bHarvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., USA

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Family data were obtained from the relatives of 30 autistic patients, 30 patients with other pervasive developmental disorder and 30 healthy controls. Detailed interviewing was conducted to document any evidence of psychiatric illness of the family members of these probands. Anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive illness stood out as being closely associated with having autistic individuals in the family. The findings suggest that autism is a spectrum disorder that may be associated with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive illness. This type of association is consistent with a polygenic threshold effect for this group of conditions.

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