Very premature babies twice as likely to develop autism symptoms

01/29/2009 | ABC News

Babies born three months early are twice as likely to test positive for autism symptoms as their full-term peers, according to a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics. "It is increasingly clear that while we have made giant strides in supporting lungs, kidney and other immature organs to maturity, brain development does not do so well outside the womb," said Dr. Shlomo Shinnar, a professor of neurology and pediatrics. "Extreme prematurity is associated with an increased risk for a variety of cognitive and behavioral disturbances, so in retrospect we should not be shocked that this is also true for autism."

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