Low birthweight infants have five times rate of autism

October 17, 2011

Autism researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing have found a link between low birthweight and children diagnosed with autism, reporting premature infants are five times more likely to have autism than children born at normal weights.

The children, some born as small as about a pound, were followed for 21 years making this study, published in the prestigious journal Pediatrics, one of the most remarkable of its kind. The infants were born between September 1984 through July 1987 in Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean counties in New Jersey at birthweights from 500 to 2000 grams or a maximum of about 4.4 pounds.

"As survival of the smallest and most immature babies improves, impaired survivors represent an increasing public health challenge," wrote lead author Jennifer Pinto-Martin, MPH, PhD, director of the Center Centers for Autism and Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE) at Penn Nursing. "Emerging studies suggest that may be a risk factor for autism spectrum disorders."

Links between low birthweight and a range of motor and have been well established for some time, but this is the first study that establishes that these children are also at increased risk for (ASD).

"Cognitive problems in these children may mask underlying autism," said Dr. Pinto-Martin. "If there is suspicion of autism or a positive screening test for ASD, parents should seek an evaluation for an ASD. Early intervention improves long-term outcome and can help these children both at school and at home."

In future studies, Penn researchers will investigate possible links between , a complication of premature birth, and autism by examining brain ultrasounds taken of these children as newborns.

The researchers, including a team at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, followed 862 children from birth to finding that five percent of the children were diagnosed with autism, compared to one percent of the general population in what researchers called "the first study to have estimated the prevalence of ASD . . . using research validated diagnostic instruments."

Explore further: Screening very preterm infants for autism at 18 months often inaccurate

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7 comments

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georgesoros
2.1 / 5 (8) Oct 17, 2011
I found this story difficult to masturbate to. Anyone else have the same problem?
OverweightAmerican
1 / 5 (4) Oct 17, 2011
Umm, George, no I can't say I did have that problem.
Sinister1811
1 / 5 (1) Oct 17, 2011
I found this story difficult to masturbate to. Anyone else have the same problem?


See a therapist.
Bonkers
1 / 5 (1) Oct 17, 2011
Does your therapist let you get away with that sort of thing?
Sinister1811
1 / 5 (1) Oct 17, 2011
Does your therapist let you get away with that sort of thing?


I don't need a therapist for that sort of thing. Are you asking me for advice? Maybe you and georgie can get together and beat each other off sometime.
kaasinees
3 / 5 (2) Oct 17, 2011
maybe autism is a result of a gene expression that is supposed to conserve energy?
Sinister1811
3 / 5 (2) Oct 17, 2011
Could also be the result of different brain wiring and/or physiology. Possibly also the result of gene expression.

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