Children with autism spectrum disorder who improve with fever: Insights from the Simons Simplex Collection

Rebecca Grzadzinski, Catherine Lord, Stephan J. Sanders, Donna Werling, Vanessa H. Bal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Literature indicates that some children with ASD may show behavioral improvements during fever; however, little is known about the behavioral profiles of these children. This study aims to (a) investigate the subset of children who show parent-reported behavioral improvements associated with fever and (b) compare the demographic, behavioral, and genetic characteristics of this subset of children to children whose parents report no change during fever. Parents of 2,152 children from the Simons Simplex Collection provided information about whether and in which areas their child improved during fever. Children were randomly assigned into discovery or replication samples. In discovery analyses, children who reportedly improved with fever (Improve Group) were compared to those who reportedly did not improve (No Improve Group) on demographics, medical history, ASD symptoms, adaptive skills, and presence of de novo ASD-associated mutations. Significant and marginal results from discovery analyses were tested in the replication sample. Parent reports of 17% of children indicated improvements during fever across a range of domains. Discovery and replication analyses revealed that the Improve Group had significantly lower non-verbal cognitive skills (NVIQ) and language levels and more repetitive behaviors. Groups did not differ on demographic variables, parent-report of current ASD symptoms or the presence of de novo mutations. Understanding the profiles of children who improve during episodes of fever may provide insights into innovative treatments for ASD. Autism Res 2018, 11: 175–184.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-184
Number of pages10
JournalAutism Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)


  • Simons simplex collection
  • autism
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • fever


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