Autism Discovery

School of Nursing finds link between premature birth and autism

341.jpgDid You Know

that researchers at the Penn School of Nursing found a link between low birth weightand children diagnosed with autism? The study, which was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and published in the journal Pediatrics reveals that premature infants are five times more likely to have autism than children born at normal weight. The 862 children studied from birth to adulthood, were born from September 1984 through July 1987 in Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean counties in New Jersey at birth weights from 500 to 2000 grams or a maximum of about 4.4 pounds. 

According to lead researcher Jennifer Pinto-Martin, director of the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology, “emerging studies suggest that low birth weight may be a risk factor for autism spectrum disorders.”

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