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Are premature babies a precursor for autism?

At one point in history premature babies were at a high risk of mortality. They’re organs are not fully developed and they can get very sick easily. However, now the cute less than four pound babies have a lower risk of morality because of improvements in science and technology.  Nevertheless premature babies have a new problem to worry about. Current research at the University of Pennsylvania nursing school has confirmed that low birth weight has a strong connection with autism. This study was conducted between 1984 and 1987, 21 years, in certain counties in New Jersey. They followed 862 children from birth to young adults and found that five percent had autism spectrum disorders, the umbrella of autistic disorders like Aspergers disorder, Rett’s syndrome and Autistic disorder. Since some premature babies are not fully developed their brains might not have undergone full development in the cognitive and social parts of the brain.  Dr. Pinto-Martin warned the public that “If there is suspicion of autism or a positive screening test for ASD, parents shold seek an evaluation for an ASD. Early intervention improves long-term outcome and can help these children both at school and at home”.  What do you guys think? Is five percent of 832 children a good enough sign to say that premature babies and autism spectrum disorders have a link?


Other Links:

another article on premature babies and autism

Premature babies information

Information on autism spectrum disorders

more information on premature babies




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1 Comment

  1. aminoalix

    This seems extremely unfortunate!! In reality, 5% of 832 babies diagnosed with autism as a baby is roughly about 42 babies annually. Yet, while this number seems small in comparison to the grand total of premies, it makes a huge difference in understanding the relationship between the disease and children in general. Did you know that one in one hundred ten individuals (of all ages) has autism? ( So, just because the babies aren’t immediately diagnosed with autism upon birth, the premies, as well as all other babies, have a high chance of being diagnosed later in time. I found some really interesting, saddening, and frustrating facts about autism and people of all ages at Please take a look!

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