Autism Risks More Severe In Babies Born Too Early or Too Late

Autism remains a mysterious condition affecting so many local residents. Our Illinois birth injury attorneys appreciate that autistic symptoms of varying degrees occur with frightening frequency in many children and medical experts remain perplexed as to why it arises and how to prevent it. Much attention has been focused on helping medical researchers get to the bottom of the condition and hopefully come up with preventable options and treatment methods. However, there is still a long way to go.

Slowly more and more information is coming out about the condition. For example, this week at Psych Central a story was posted that summarized new research on the topic recently published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. According to the story, new research suggests that while autism can strike children born at all stages (pre-term, normal term, or post-term), those born prematurely or post-term experience more severe symptoms than autistic children born at normal term. In addition, autistic children born pre-term or post-term were most prone to self-injury than others. These findings were released by researchers from Michigan State University.

The researchers admit that these findings are just a first step, because they still do not know why the symptoms appeared to be different in the various groups. It is speculated that perhaps one reason may be that a separate underlying factor actually causes the baby not to be born at the normal time. In other words, the experts are not suggesting that the pre or post-term birth causes the more severe symptoms. Instead, they are suggests that the two variables correlate and are both caused by some unknown third variable. Each Chicago birth injury lawyer at our firm appreciate that these sort of basic understanding is important foundational findings that will hopefully one day lead to more concrete understandings of the condition and possible treatments.

One postdoctoral epidemiology fellow involved in the research explained that the study was important confirmation of the “autism spectrum disorders” (ASD). ASD refers to a collection of disorders with different symptoms and levels of severity from autism to Asperger’s syndrome.

Earlier studies have confirmed that premature births are more likely to lead to autism. However, this is the first effort to connect that actual severity of the conditions to the length of time in the womb before birth. Summarizing the current state of knowledge on the topic and how this research fits in, the post doc fellow noted that “we think about autism being caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. With preterm and post-term babies, there is something underlying that is altering the genetic expression of autism.”

Autism remains a very real concern for all families expecting a child. Like birth injuries that develop early in a pregnancy, there are always risks of certain disorder, ailments, or developmental problems arising which are truly impossible to prevent. That only way we can tackle those issues is by placing more resources and attention toward research efforts to develop more complete understanding of why it happened and how it can be prevented.

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