Neonatal Intensive Care and Autism Outcome

Autism spectrum disorder in a term birth neonatal intensive care unit population

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Abstract

Background

Non-specific perinatal risk factors have been shown to be associated with the development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD); however, term at-risk infants, as a distinct population, are underrepresented in the literature. This study examines the incidence and neonatal risk factors for ASD in term neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) survivors.

Methods

Retrospective analysis from a single university-practice database of neonates admitted to the NICU and followed by a single paediatric neurologist. Term infants (≥ 37 weeks), born between 1991 and 2011 with at least two years (or one year if found to be neurologically normal) of follow-up were included. Principle outcomes were: ASD, cerebral palsy (CP), global developmental delay (GDD), and epilepsy.

Results

180 infants were included from a database of 564 neonates.

Twelve (6.6%) developed ASD,

53 (29.4%) CP, 77 (42.7%) GDD and

47 (26.1%) epilepsy.

Seventy-one (39.4%) developed no adverse outcomes.

Nine patients with ASD (75%) were diagnosed with at least one other adverse outcome.

No neonatal or perinatal variables were found to be significantly associated with later ASD.

Conclusions

In term NICU survivors, ASD occurs with a greater frequency than in the general population and often develops alongside comorbid conditions. This highlights the importance of screening term NICU survivors for ASD, particularly when comorbidities are present.

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This entry was posted in Autism, co-morbid, Environment, epilepsy, Immune System, Inflammation, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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