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Neonatal factors associated with autism spectrum disorders in infants
  1. Sara Jane Webb
  1. Seattle Children's Research Institute & University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA;
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sara Jane Webb, sjwebb{at}

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What is already known on this topic?

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have a prevalence rate of 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 …

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  • Competing interests None.

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