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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Premature or under weight baby's link to Autism

Pre-mature or under weight babies are five times more at risk of developing autism, a study has revealed a link between low birth weight and children diagnosed with autism.
All along premature babies were known to be at risk of health problems and cognitive delays but the study of Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing is the first to establish a link between low birth weight and autism.

The study followed children over time to confirm the link between low birth weight and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in a large group of infants followed for 21 years.
Researchers tracked 862 children who were born between 1984 and 1987 in three counties in New Jersey. The children weighed between 500 and 2,000 grams at birth.
Screening of these children at age 16 as part of a larger psychiatric follow up revealed that 117 of 623 patients showed positive results for autism spectrum disorders  that is roughly 18%.
Diagnostic testing was also done on a proportion of the patients who screened positives (about 60%) and those that screen negatives (24%) at age 21. Of 70 who screened positive as adolescents, 11 (14.3%) were confirmed as having autism spectrum disorders.
In light of these results the Researchers estimated a 5% occurrence of autism in premature babies compared to 1% found in the general population.

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