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Autism associated with conditions characterized by developmental errors in early embryogenesis: a mini review.

Journal article
Authors Marilyn T Miller
Kerstin Strömland
Liana Ventura
Maria E I Johansson
Jose M Bandim
Christopher Gillberg
Published in International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
Volume 23
Issue 2-3
Pages 201-219
ISSN 0736-5748
Publication year 2005
Published at Institute of Clinical Neurosciences, Section of Ophtalmology
Institute for the Health of Women and Children, Dept of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Pages 201-219
Language en
Keywords Abnormalities, Multiple, Physiopathology, Adult, Autistic Disorder, Diagnosis, Epidemiology, Etiology, Child, Child, Preschool, Congenital Abnormalities, Epidemiology, Physiopathology, Craniofacial Abnormalities, Physiopathology, Developmental Disabilities, Physiopathology, Embryonic Development, Female, Goldenhar Syndrome, Diagnosis, Epidemiology, Physiopathology, Humans, Infant, Male, Middle Aged, Mobius Syndrome, Diagnosis, Epidemiology, Physiopathology, Sweden, Epidemiology, Thalidomide, Poisoning
Subject categories Psychiatry


Autism is a complex developmental disorder without an established single etiology but with significant contributions from genetic studies, functional research, and neuropsychiatric and neuroradiologic investigations. The purpose of this paper is to review the findings in five studies involving individuals manifesting the characteristic findings of autism spectrum disorder associated with malformations and dysfunctions known to result from early embryogenic defects. These investigations include two associated with teratogens (thalidomide embryopathy, Mobius sequence with misoprostol) and three (most Mobius sequence cases, CHARGE association, Goldenhar syndrome) with no known etiology. These studies suggest that early embryonic development errors often involving cranial nerve palsies, internal and external ear malformations, ophthalmologic anomalies, and a variety of systemic malformations may be associated with autism spectrum disorders statistically more frequently than expected in a normal population. Although the exact time of developmental insult for each condition cannot be identified, the evidence is that it may occur as early as week 4 to 6+ of embryogenesis.

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