Characterisation of ASD traits among a cohort of children with isolated fetal ventriculomegaly

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Fetal ventriculomegaly is the most common antenatally-diagnosed brain abnormality. Imaging studies in antenatal isolated ventriculomegaly demonstrate enlarged ventricles and cortical overgrowth which are also present in children with autism-spectrum disorder/condition (ASD). We investigate the presence of ASD traits in a cohort of children (n = 24 [20 males/4 females]) with isolated fetal ventriculomegaly, compared with 10 controls (n = 10 [6 males/4 females]). Neurodevelopmental outcome at school age included IQ, ASD traits (ADOS-2), sustained attention, neurological functioning, behaviour, executive function, sensory processing, co-ordination, and adaptive behaviours. Pre-school language development was assessed at 2 years. 37.5% of children, all male, in the ventriculomegaly cohort scored above threshold for autism/ASD classification. Pre-school language delay predicted an ADOS-2 autism/ASD classification with 73.3% specificity/66.7% sensitivity. Greater pre-school language delay was associated with more ASD symptoms. In this study, the neurodevelopment of children with isolated fetal ventriculomegaly, associated with altered cortical development, includes ASD traits, difficulties in sustained attention, working memory and sensation-seeking behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1550
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2023


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