Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ultrasound reveals autism risk at birth, study finds

Date:
February 25, 2013
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Low-birth-weight babies with a particular brain abnormality are at greater risk for autism, according to a new study that could provide doctors a signpost for early detection of the still poorly understood disorder.

Low-birth-weight babies with a particular brain abnormality are at greater risk for autism, according to a new study that could provide doctors a signpost for early detection of the still poorly understood disorder.
Credit: gdbrekke / Fotolia

Low-birth-weight babies with a particular brain abnormality are at greater risk for autism, according to a new study that could provide doctors a signpost for early detection of the still poorly understood disorder.

Led by Michigan State University, the study found that low-birth-weight newborns were seven times more likely to be diagnosed with autism later in life if an ultrasound taken just after birth showed they had enlarged ventricles, cavities in the brain that store spinal fluid. The results appear in the Journal of Pediatrics.

"For many years there's been a lot of controversy about whether vaccinations or environmental factors influence the development of autism, and there's always the question of at what age a child begins to develop the disorder," said lead author Tammy Movsas, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at MSU and medical director of the Midland County Department of Public Health.

"What this study shows us is that an ultrasound scan within the first few days of life may already be able to detect brain abnormalities that indicate a higher risk of developing autism."

Movsas and colleagues reached that conclusion by analyzing data from a cohort of 1,105 low-birth-weight infants born in the mid-1980s. The babies had cranial ultrasounds just after birth so the researchers could look for relationships between brain abnormalities in infancy and health disorders that showed up later. Participants also were screened for autism when they were 16 years old, and a subset of them had a more rigorous test at 21, which turned up 14 positive diagnoses.

Ventricular enlargement is found more often in premature babies and may indicate loss of a type of brain tissue called white matter.

"This study suggests further research is needed to better understand what it is about loss of white matter that interferes with the neurological processes that determine autism," said co-author Nigel Paneth, an MSU epidemiologist who helped organize the cohort. "This is an important clue to the underlying brain issues in autism."

Prior studies have shown an increased rate of autism in low-birth-weight and premature babies, and earlier research by Movsas and Paneth found a modest increase in symptoms among autistic children born early or late.

The study was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Tammy Z. Movsas, Jennifer A. Pinto-Martin, Agnes H. Whitaker, Judith F. Feldman, John M. Lorenz, Steven J. Korzeniewski, Susan E. Levy, Nigel Paneth. Autism Spectrum Disorder Is Associated with Ventricular Enlargement in a Low Birth Weight Population. The Journal of Pediatrics, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.12.084

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Ultrasound reveals autism risk at birth, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130225112510.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2013, February 25). Ultrasound reveals autism risk at birth, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130225112510.htm
Michigan State University. "Ultrasound reveals autism risk at birth, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130225112510.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping School Violence

Stopping School Violence

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A trauma doctor steps out of the hospital and into the classroom to teach kids how to calmly solve conflicts, avoiding a trip to the ER. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A tiny cyst in the brain that can cause debilitating symptoms like chronic headaches and insomnia, and the doctor who performs the delicate surgery to remove them. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Burning Away Brain Tumors

Burning Away Brain Tumors

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Doctors are 'cooking' brain tumors. Hear how this new laser-heat procedure cuts down on recovery time. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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