Thursday, November 17, 2011

Possible Low Birth Weight-Autism Link

Low birth weight babies, infants born weighing between one and five pounds, can face a host of long-term health and developmental issues, including illness, infection and, according to a study from the School of Nursing, an increased risk for autism.
For 25 years, Jennifer Pinto-Martin, the Viola MacInnes/Independence Professor of Nursing at Penn Nursing, has been involved in a longitudinal study examining a cohort of infants with a low birth weight.
Pinto-Martin, also director of the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology, says medical professionals knew very little in the 1980s about the long-term consequences of prematurity. To determine the lasting effects of being born at low birth weight, the cohort was assessed at ages 2, 6, 9, 16 and 21.

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