OBJECTIVE We conducted a meta-analysis to summarize the evidence from epidemiological studies of the association between asthma and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). METHODS A literature search was conducted using PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane library for studies published before February 2nd, 2016. Observational studies investigating the association between asthma and ASD were included. A random effects model was used to calculate the pooled risk estimates for the outcome. Subgroup analysis was used to explore potential sources of heterogeneity and publication bias was estimated using Begg's and Egger's tests. RESULTS Ten studies encompassing 175,406 participants and 8,809 cases of ASD were included in this meta-analysis. In the cross-sectional studies, the prevalence of asthma in ASD was 20.4%, while the prevalence of asthma in controls was 15.4% (P < 0.001). The pooled odds ratio (OR) for the prevalence of asthma in ASD in the cross-sectional studies was 1.26 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.98-1.61) (P = 0.07), with moderate heterogeneity (I2 = 65.0%, P = 0.02) across studies. In the case-control studies, the pooled OR for the prevalence of asthma in ASD was 0.98 (95% CI: 0.68-1.43) (P = 0.94), and there was no evidence of an association between asthma and ASD. No evidence of significant publication bias on the association between asthma and ASD was found. CONCLUSIONS In conclusion, the results of this meta-analysis do not suggest an association between asthma and ASD. Further prospective studies ascertaining the association between asthma and ASD are warranted.
Zheng, Z., Zhang, L., Zhu, T., Huang, J., Qu, Y., & Mu, D. (2016). Association between asthma and autism spectrum disorder: A meta-analysis. PLoS ONE, 11(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0156662