In The News

Small Babies at Higher Risk of Autism

Babies born small or prematurely go on to develop autism at higher rates, although the risk is still small, according to a new study from Finland.

The research is part of a global push to identify the culprits behind the developmental disorder and the recent uptick in its occurrence, which has had scientists scratching their heads for years.

"Previous reports of how birth weight or gestational age is associated with autism have not been consistent," Dr. Andre Sourander, a psychiatrist at Turku University, told Reuters Health by email.

"Because autism spectrum disorders are one of the major challenges in child mental health it is extremely important to get more understanding of its causes," Sourander said.

Autism spectrum disorders, which range from mild Asperger syndrome to severe mental retardation and social disability in childhood autism, are diagnosed in about one in 88 children in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new results, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, are based on almost two decades' worth of data from more than one million births in Finland.

As of 2005, the rate of autism in the Northern European country was 9 per 10,000 children in Finland, whereas Asperger was diagnosed in 14.5 children out of 10,000.

After accounting for the mother's age, smoking, number of previous births and other factors, Sourander's team found an increased risk of autism, but not Asperger's syndrome, in preemies and babies that were very small at birth. For instance, those who weighed less than 3.3 pounds, at birth had three times the odds of developing autism.

In The News Archives


Email: *

Email, first name, comment and security code are required fields; all other fields are optional. With the exception of email, any information you provide will be displayed with your comment.

First * Last
Title Field Facility
City State

Comments: *
To prevent comment spam, please type the code you see below into the code field before submitting your comment. If you cannot read the numbers in the below image, reload the page to generate a new one.

Enter the security code below: *

Fields marked with an * are required.

View the Latest from ADVANCE


Search Jobs


Back to Top

© 2017 Merion Matters

660 American Avenue Suite 300, King of Prussia PA 19406