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Autistic kids born preterm, post-term have more severe symptoms
Date:4/3/2012

while a baby is in utero, the higher chance of placental malfunction and the increased rate of C-section and instrument-assisted births may play a role.

The study also found that babies born outside of normal gestational age (40 weeks) specifically very preterm babies showed an increase in stereotypical autistic mannerisms.

"Normal gestation age of birth seems to mitigate the severity of autism spectrum disorder symptoms, and the types of autistic traits tend to be different depending on age at birth," she said.

The study analyzed an online database compiled by Kennedy Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins University of nearly 4,200 mothers with autistic children ages 4-21 between 2006 and 2010. It divided the data on births into four categories: very preterm (born prior to 34 weeks); preterm (34 to 37 weeks); standard (37 to 42 weeks); and post-term (born after 42 weeks)

The mothers filled out a pair of questionnaires regarding the symptoms of their autistic children, and the results revealed very preterm, preterm and post-term autistic children had significantly higher screening scores for autism spectrum disorder than autistic children born full term.

"The findings point to the fact that although autism has a strong genetic component, something about pregnancy or the perinatal period may affect how autism manifests," said Nigel Paneth, an MSU epidemiologist who worked with Movsas on the paper. "This adds to our earlier finding that prematurity is a major risk factor for autism spectrum disorder and may help us understand if anything can be done during early life to prevent or alleviate autism spectrum disorder."


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Contact: Jason Cody
codyja@msu.edu
517-432-0924
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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