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What is already known on this topic?
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have a prevalence rate of at least 1 in 68 among children1; with genetic, familial (eg, maternal and paternal age), prenatal (eg, low birth weight and prematurity) and perinatal factors associated with an increased risk for later development of ASD.2 ,3
What does this paper add?
The likelihood of an ASD diagnosis increased with decreasing gestational age and decreasing birth weight. High-frequency ventilation and intraventricular cranial haemorrhages (ICH) were also related to increased risk.
ASD outcome was established through a combination of tools; results were stable regardless of diagnostic pathway.
Not all potentially confounding variables were available on all infants; for example, only 76% of infants <34 weeks had an ultrasound to examine for ICH.
Premature children who developed ASD were more likely to have other developmental disabilities, reinforcing our understanding that this may be a particularly vulnerable group.
The findings do not address the mechanisms or causal pathway to ASD.
What next in research?
Sex (ie, being male) and …
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