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November 16, 2011

Autism and Premature Babies

Autism is likely to occur five times more often in premature babies.  These numbers could account for growing rates of the condition.  The report was documented in the American Journal of Pediatrics.
The report focused on 600+ children in New Jersey born between 1984 and ’87.  The children weighed less than 4 lbs.  The 5% rate is higher than the 1% rate for all children found by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I was quite surprised to see that it was five times as high,” said Jennifer Pinto-Martin, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and the study’s lead author. “Parents of preemies need to be especially aware of the potential for this and really pay attention to what’s happening with their children.”

Researchers followed the children through age 21.  They were examined periodically.  An autism screening at 16 showed that close to 19% may have the condition.

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