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Autism risks linked to birth factors

Scientists are attributing prenatal environmental factors and parental mental health to increased risk of autism// in children.

Babies who were at breech position at the time of delivery, born prematurely by more than five weeks, or have a family history of schizophrenia have a greater risk of being autistic than other babies. Even a low Apgar score at birth also puts the baby at greater risk of being autistic.

Autism disorder is a range of disorders that can be seen in a mild to the most sever form. The characteristics of the disease are varying nature of ineffective communication skills; poor levels of social interactions, restricted repeated and stereotyped patterns of behavior.

Researchers of Aarhus University of Denmark and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, US, had examined data on 698 children who were diagnosed with infantile or atypical autism, for a period from 1972 to 1999. The research report says that family history of mental disorders like schizophrenia may be independent risk factor of autism, away from the risks caused by birth situations.

The result of the study is published in the current issue of American Journal of Epidemiology.

Reference: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, news Release, May 2005

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