Younger Siblings of Children with Autism or ADHD More Likely To Be Similarly Diagnosed

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Meghan Miller, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences UC Davis MIND Institute Sacramento, CA 95817

Dr. Miller

Meghan Miller, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
UC Davis MIND Institute
Sacramento, CA 95817

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study evaluated within-diagnosis sibling recurrence and sibling cross-aggregation of ADHD and autism spectrum disorder among later-born siblings of diagnosed children. We specifically chose to include only families who had at least one subsequent child after the diagnosis of an older child because failing to do so could bias recurrence risk estimates.

We found that, compared to later-born siblings of non-diagnosed children, later-born siblings of children with autism were more likely to be diagnosed with autism or with ADHD. Likewise, compared to later-born siblings of non-diagnosed children, later-born siblings of children with ADHD were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD or with autism.

Continue reading

Sibling Closeness in Middle School Predicts Differences in College Graduation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“siblings” by Britt Reints is licensed under CC BY 2.0Xiaoran Sun

Department of Human Development and Family Studies
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802.  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: College graduation has significant implications for adult life outcomes including for employment, family formation, and health (IOM & NRC, 2015).

Investigating how sibling differences in college graduation emerge sheds light on why children growing up in the same family sometimes follow diverging paths in adulthood. Our study also responds to the call by researchers interested in policy and practice to conduct longitudinal research investigating the role of early family socialization processes in educational attainment (Pettit, Davis-Kean, & Magnuson, 2009). Despite siblings’ important role in child and adolescent development, previous research has focused on parenting and on the academic outcomes of individual children in the family.

Further, although sibling experiences, including their relationship characteristics and parental differential treatment, have been linked to sibling similarities and differences in domains such as risky behaviors (Slomkowski, Rende, Novak, Lloyd-Richardson, & Raymond, 2005), to date, there has been very little research on the role of sibling experiences in positive development, such as academic achievement.   Continue reading

Premature Babies Less Likely To Have Siblings

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Premature baby” by Elin B is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Suvi Alenius, MD
National Institute for Health and Welfare
Helsinki and Oulu, Finland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Parents of very or extremely low birth weight infants are less likely to have subsequent children after preterm birth. We assessed whether this phenomenon extends over the whole range of prematurity.

We now show that parents of preterm-born infants (gestational age less than 37 completed weeks of gestation) have fewer subsequent children than do parents of term born infants. This is not limited to the extreme group of parents of children born very preterm, but is even seen within the large groups of parents of infants born less preterm.

Continue reading

Children Don’t Learn Violent or Disruptive Behavior From Siblings

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ella Daniel, PhD

Department of School Counseling and Special Education
Constantiner School of Education
Tel Aviv University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The development of disruptive behavior in early childhood is extremely important, as disruptive behavior starts early in life and behavioral patterns may become stable and resistant to influence later on. Siblings have a high potential to influence each other’s behavior, as they spend a considerable amount of time together, are close in age and likely to become role models. However, the role of siblings in disruptive behavior development was mostly studied among adolescents, and hardly among young children.

In the current study, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Jennifer Jenkins and colleagues at the University of Toronto and funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research, we asked parents in some 400 families in and around Toronto, about the behavior of their young children. Both mothers and fathers reported the frequency of disruptive behaviors among their children, including violence, disobedience, destruction of property etc.. At the time of the study, the youngest children in the family were only 18 months of age. They all had an older sibling who was less that 5.5 years of age, and some had additional older siblings, up to four children in a  amily. Using advanced statistical models, we aimed to identify the role of siblings in the development of each child’s disruptive behavior over time, taking into account heredity, parenting, social environment and shared history.

Continue reading

Childhood Obesity: Sibling Influence May Be Greater Than Parents

Mark C. Pachucki, PhD Senior Scientist, Mongan Institute for Health Policy Affiliated Faculty, MGHfC Division of General Academic Pediatrics Instructor in Medicine and Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02114MedicalResearch:.com Interview with:
Mark C. Pachucki, PhD
Senior Scientist, Mongan Institute for Health Policy
Affiliated Faculty, MGHfC Division of General Academic Pediatrics
Instructor in Medicine and Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02114

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Pachucki: We found that in in one-child families, having an obese parent made a child about twice as likely to be obese themselves. However, in two-child families, a child’s obesity status was more strongly related with their sibling than with their parent. Even more interesting, in the case of the younger sibling, the parent’s obesity status was not related with that child’s obesity status at all. These findings matter because family members are primary sources of social influence for children – understanding how health status is correlated within a family gives us a better foothold on possible intervention strategies.
Continue reading

Autism Risk in Siblings

MedicalResearch.com:  Interview with: Therese Koops Grønborg

PhD student/ph.d.-studerende, MSc
Section of Biostatistics/Sektion for Biostatistisk
Department of Public Health/Institut for Folkesundhed
Aarhus University
Bartholins Allé 2, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: There are three important findings in our study.

We estimated a population-based Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) sibling recurrence risk relative to the background population and found an almost seven-fold increase. While this indeed is an increased risk, it is also lower than what other recent studies have suggested.

We also compared the relative recurrence risk for full and maternal/paternal half siblings and found a lower relative recurrence risk in half siblings than in full siblings, which supports the genetic pathway to ASD. The recurrence risk for maternal half siblings is still higher than for the background population suggesting that factors unique to the mother, such as the intrauterine environment and perinatal history, may contribute to ASD.

Last, but not least, we estimated the time trends in the relative recurrence risk. While the ASD prevalence has been increasing for several years, we found no time trends in the relative recurrence risk, suggesting that the factors contributing to the risk for ASDs recurrence in siblings (perhaps a combination of genes and environment) have not changed over time.

Continue reading