Babies who grow to above average size at birth are at high risk of autism spectrum disorder, suggests a research published in The American Journal of Psychiatry. A study of over 40,000 child health records in Sweden is the first one to underline that the processes that leads to ASD begins during foetal life. The research at The University of Manchester also confirmed prior research which reported that premature, poorly grown or low weight babies are more susceptible to the condition.
The scientists studied the data from the Stockholm Youth Cohort in Sweden, where early ultrasound of the foetus provided the detailed weights of the baby's progression in pregnancy. Moreover, the structured clinical assessments of their social, motor, language and cognitive abilities were also looked at. The cohort had the records of 589,114 children aged 0-17 in Sweden, between 2001 and 2007.
The study found that bigger babies who were born weighing over 4.5kg (or 9lb 14) had a higher incidence of autism, so did the smaller infants who were born weighing less than 2.5kg (5.5lb). Babies with poor foetal growth had a 63 percent chance of developing autism as compared to normally grown babies, while babies that were large at birth had a 60 percent risk of autism spectrum disorder.
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