Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New Study Explores the Relationship between Preterm Birth and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Recent studies have suggested that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be more prevalent among children born very prematurely.

The early symptoms of ASD are also associated with other conditions related to preterm births, such as cerebral palsy, which can make it difficult to correctly screen children for ASD.

Because of this, researchers have begun to explore the relationship between preterm birth, cognitive and developmental impairments, and ASD. Two articles soon to be published in The Journal of Pediatrics explore this possible correlation between preterm birth and ASD.

Dr. Karl Kuban and colleagues from Boston University, Wake Forest University, and Harvard University studied 988 children born between 2002 and 2004 who participated in the ELGAN (Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborn) study, a large, multi-center study that enrolled more than 1500 infants born at least three months prematurely. They wanted to explore whether children born preterm are more likely to screen positive on the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT), a survey administered to a caregiver regarding a child’s behavior. Pediatricians typically wait to formally diagnose ASD until after a child’s third birthday. In this study, however, the caregivers of the infants completed the M-CHAT when the children were 24 months of age. The researchers found that 21% of the preterm children screened positive for ASD.

Dr. Kuban and his colleagues were also interested in learning whether a child born prematurely who had motor, visual, hearing, or cognitive impairments was more likely to screen positive on the M-CHAT. Of the 988 children, 26% had cognitive impairments, 11% had cerebral palsy, 3% had visual impairments, and 2% had hearing impairments. They also observed that nearly half of the children with cerebral palsy and more than two-thirds of the children with visual or hearing impairments screened positive. According to Dr. Kuban, “Children who are born more than three months premature appear to be twice as likely to screen positive on the M-CHAT.” He notes, however, that the percentage of children who screened positive for ASD dropped to 10% when the variables of cognitive, visual, hearing, and motor impairments were removed.

In a related editorial, Dr. Neil Marlow and Dr. Samantha Johnson of University College London stress that because early identification leads to early treatment of children with ASD, screening tests are designed to over-identify children at risk. They suggest that useful knowledge may be gained by following the children as they mature to determine how many of those who initially screened positive actually develop ASD. Dr. Marlow notes that the study is valuable because “it raises our awareness of the difficulties in interpreting screening results.” He cautions that further research is needed before conclusions can be drawn about the direct correlation between preterm birth and ASD.

Brigid Huey | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>