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Science in Brief

Premature births linked to autism

April 05, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

One out of four toddlers born prematurely showed early signs of autism, and the risk was greatest among those children who were the smallest at birth, researchers reported.

Premature birth and low birth weight have been recognized in earlier studies as risk factors for a number of developmental problems, including autism and other illnesses.

But the study of 91 children, who were born seven to 14 weeks prematurely and weighed 3.3 pounds or less at birth, was the first to directly assess the risk of autism in this population.

The study was published Wednesday in the journal Pediatrics.

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