A difficult birth or a history of mental illness in a parent may put a baby at greater risk for autism, according to a study that may provide clues to the causes of the devastating neurological disability.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday that in a study of 698 Danish children with the developmental disorder, researchers found a disproportionately high number had been born before the 35th week of pregnancy, had suffered from low birth weights and were in a breech position at birth.
The children, all of whom were born after 1972 and diagnosed with autism before 2000, also were more likely to have a parent who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia-like psychosis before the autism was discovered.
The study was partly funded by the CDC and published in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Previous research had suggested that perinatal factors, parental psychiatric history and socioeconomic status might represent or include risk factors for autism. The CDC, however, noted that the latest findings did not indicate a definitive link between autism and troubled births or other possible risk factors.
“At this point we don’t know for sure if these events are causes, but it certainly points us to look more closely at what happens during pregnancy as a possible opportunity for future prevention,” said Diana Schendel, a CDC epidemiologist and one of the authors.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 May 2005
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, . (2005). Autism may be linked to difficult births – study. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 9, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2005/05/16/autism-may-be-linked-to-difficult-births-study/