Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low birthweight infants five times more likely to have autism, study finds

Date:
October 20, 2011
Source:
University of Pennsylvania
Summary:
Autism researchers 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 weight.

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 weight.

The children, some born as small as about a pound, were followed for 21 years making this study, published in the 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 for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE) at Penn Nursing. "Emerging studies suggest that low birthweight may be a risk factor for autism spectrum disorders."

Links between low birthweight and a range of motor and cognitive problems have been well established for some time, but this is the first study that establishes that these children are also at increased risk for autism spectrum disorders (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 brain hemorrhage, 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 young adulthood 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."

The $3 million study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Pennsylvania. "Low birthweight infants five times more likely to have autism, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111017092239.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania. (2011, October 20). Low birthweight infants five times more likely to have autism, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111017092239.htm
University of Pennsylvania. "Low birthweight infants five times more likely to have autism, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111017092239.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) It’s an unusual condition with a colorful name. Kids with “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome see sudden distortions in objects they’re looking at or their own bodies appear to change size, a lot like the main character in the Lewis Carroll story. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Scientists have long called choline a “brain booster” essential for human development. Not only does it aid in memory and learning, researchers now believe choline could help prevent mental illness. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain cancer in humans. Now a new treatment using the patient’s own tumor could help slow down its progression and help patients live longer. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain Surgery in 3-D

Brain Surgery in 3-D

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Neurosurgeons now have a new approach to brain surgery using the same 3D glasses you’d put on at an IMAX movie theater. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins