the increased mental health risks, and look out for signs of any problems as low birth weight kids grow older.
The findings, published online in Pediatrics, give a picture of how tiny preemies fare as they move through adulthood.
It’s well known that those infants have increased risks of later problems, including autism, attention problems and difficulty with social skills, said Brandon Korman, chief of neuropsychology at Miami Children’s Hospital.
It’s not clear, though, whether or how often any past studies weighed prenatal steroid use, said Korman, who was not involved in the new research. And he cautioned that it’s early to draw conclusions.
“While this study suggests a connection between prenatal steroids and later psychiatric issues,” he said, “that’s confounded by comparison against [normal birth weight] ‘controls,’ rather than comparing premature individuals with and without prenatal steroid exposure.”
For the study, Van Lieshout’s team interviewed 84 adults who were born from 1977 to 1982 at an “extremely low” weight – less than 2 pounds, on average. They were compared with