We are familiar with the link between low-birth weight and autism. Along the same lines, a team from the Michigan State University (MSU) has put forth that both preterm and post term autistic kids could be risk of severe symptoms.
Another finding is that the aforesaid kids are more likely to indulge in self-destructive behaviors relative to those born at the right time. The investigators examined children aged between 4 and 21 who were categorized into 4 groups namely early preterm, preterm, normal, and post-term.
The parents were made to fill in questionnaires regarding the autistic symptoms of their children. The outcomes showed that the symptom scores were higher for early preterm, preterm and post-term children affected by autism.
“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. The outside environment in which a preterm baby continues to mature is very different than the environment that the baby would have experienced in utero,” commented Tammy Movsas of MSU’s Department of Epidemiology.
The scientists believed that the length of women’s pregnancy seemed to affect the autistic symptoms of their kids. This may be because the experience in the outside world for preterm babies could be very different than that found inside the womb. In case of post term infants, the longer exposure to utero hormones may be a driving factor.
The study is published in the Journal of Autism and Development Disorders.