Very Premature Babies are More Likely to Have Autism

Of 219 children born before the 26th week of pregnancy, 8 percent could be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

Autism research on premature babies indicates that they have a higher risk of developing autism. Now, a new study in extremely premature babies finds this group to be especially susceptible.

Autism researchers in England based the study on a group of English and Irish children in 1995. The lead researcher, Dr. Neil Marlow, is a professor of neonatal medicine at the University College London, in England.

Marlow, and the other researches, found that of 219 children born before the 26th week of pregnancy, 8 percent could be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The study also showed a sharp contrast as none of the other 153 classmates who were born full-term showed any symptoms.

Babies who are born prematurely already are at a higher risk for
under-developed brain development
when compared to children born at the expected date.

Marlow explains “we know that very pre-term babies’ brains develop differently and this is associated with a high frequency of cognitive problems in childhood.” Therefore, these extreme circumstances of premature births raise the risk and damage of autism to another level.

Marlow and his other researchers are continuing to research another group born in 2006 to observe if scientific advancements had any affect on autism in premature children.

The International Center for Autism Research and Education (ICare4Autism) will post updates on this topic, as they are released.

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