A small study of toddlers finds that about one-quarter of babies born very prematurely had signs of autism on an early screening test.
The research is preliminary since formal autism testing wasn't done. But the results are provocative, suggesting that tiny preemies may face greater risks of developing autism than previously thought.
That suggests autism may be an under-appreciated consequence of medical advances enabling the tiniest of premature babies to survive, said lead author Catherine Limperopoulos, a researcher at McGill University in Montreal and Children's Hospital in Boston.(Read entire article)
The first looked for early autistic behaviors, though not specifically for a diagnosis of autism, in premature infants who were born at a very low birth weight -- about 3.3 pounds -- and found that several factors associated with these early births were linked to a positive result on an autism screening test.(Read entire article)