Babies With Less Weight Have Chance of Autism


Babies born weighing less than 1.8 kg have a greater chance to be autistic than babies born with normal weight. A study, published in the ‘Pediatric journal’ examined 862 children in New Jersey who were born with low weight to young people aged 21 years.

As many as five percent of those were diagnosed with autism. Even so, experts say that this research needs to be deepened in order to understand the relationship between the two. The relationship between low birth weight with cognitive and motor problems was already known from previous studies. While this study, the researchers said, is a premier research that tries to find out whether these children have a risk of becoming autistic.

Infants who become research subjects were those born between September 1984 and July 1987 in three counties in New Jersey. Their weight ranged from 0.5 kg to 2 kg. At the age of 16 years, as many as 623 children were screened to determine the risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

A total of 117 of them were known positive in screening and 70 others will be examined again at the age of 21 years. Eleven of them were suffering from ASD. From these results, the researchers estimated the average ASD prevalence was 31 of 623 children or about five percent.

Professor Jennifer Pinto-Martin from the ‘School of Nursing’ at the ‘University of Pennsylvania’ who is also the Director of the Center for Autism, where the research is done, said, “cognitive problems in children with autism likely to cover this issue. If there is suspicion of autism or the ASD screening result is positive, parents should conduct an evaluation of this ASD. Early treatment will improve the long-term results and can help the children at school or at home. ”

However, professors in the field of neuropsychological development at Oxford University, Dorothy Bishop, says that it is very important to see the results of this research with a particular viewpoint. “That relationship seems obvious, but in fact the majority of babies born with less weight does not become autistic children and in the other hand children with autism do not have low birth weight at birth.”

While Georgina Gomez, researchers from ‘The National Autistic Society’, said that this research requires further research to determine the relationship between low birth weight infants with autism. Also need to understand more deeply about the babies born with low weight and a tendency to become autistic.

“Low birth weight is often associated with cognitive and motor problems and also regarded to premature birth and complications during childbirth. Therefore it is important to explore further in order to understand the biological processes and events that explain the connection, “said Gomez, according to bbc online.