April 2 was World Autism Day
Last Wednesday, April 2, the first World Autism Awareness Day was observed. An initiative of the UN General Assembly, it is ?a day to focus on children and adults suffering from autism.?
Autism has been linked to vaccines, genetics, pollution, and prenatal alcohol exposure. A recent study shows another side to the multi-faceted Autism Spectrum Disorders – the association between autism and birth weights.
The researchers followed up a group of 91 very premature babies up to toddlerhood and found that about one-fourth of these toddlers exhibited signs of autism. These children were born on the average 10 weeks before term and weighed less than 4 lbs.
Due to rapid advancement in the medical field, more and more premature babies are able to survive. However, most of these babies suffer from health and developmental problems.
In this study, an early autism screening test which is appropriate for this age group was used. Although this screening cannot be considered a definitive form of autism test, the results indicated that premies have higher risks of becoming autistic
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), an estimated 1 in 150 children in the United States is affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Limperopoulos et al. Positive Screening for Autism in Ex-preterm Infants: Prevalence and Risk Factors. PEDIATRICS Vol. 121 No. 4 April 2008, pp. 758-765.