Prematurity Might Be Linked To Autism

pregnant african american woman(BlackDoctor.org) — A currently ongoing study might link autism to premature birth. The risk of autism has grown largely among preemies but more study is needed to be sure.

Last spring, researchers from Harvard Medical School and McGill University reported that one in four very low birth weight preemies showed early signs of autistic behavior when evaluated before age 2 in a study involving 91 children.

Now a much larger study shows that one in five toddlers born more than three months early showed early signs of autism spectrum disorder, regardless of their weight at birth.

Toddlers with established motor, visual, hearing, and mental handicaps were more likely to show early signs suggesting a high risk for autism, compared to children without these problems.

The studies don’t prove that extreme prematurity is directly linked to autism because the children who participated were too young to have a confirmed diagnosis, lead author Ken C. K. Kuban, MD, of the Boston University School of Medicine states.