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Autism Tests for Preemies May Be Faulty, Study Suggests
Date:5/2/2011

r to one trend in autism spectrum disorder research these days, which is that being born early may be a risk factor for autism, said Cynthia Johnson, director of the Autism Center at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Taken together, she said, "this speaks to the lack of our measures being sensitive enough to differentiate preemies who may end up having some cognitive differences in language but [ones] not specific to autism."

"Deferring a diagnosis makes sense. Sometimes we have to do a little more wait-and-see," Johnson said. "I think if providers are suspicious of an autism diagnosis, it warrants mentioning to families. These families know their children are at risk for a number of things, not just autism, and the science is not where we can be more definitive right now."

More information

The March of Dimes has more on premature babies.

SOURCES: Bonnie E. Stephens, M.D., assistant professor, pediatrics, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, and staff neonatologist and developmental and behavioral pediatrician, Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, Providence; Cynthia Johnson, Ph.D., director, Autism Center, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; May 1, 2011, presentation, Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting, Denver


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