Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Autism found to be Present at Birth

Autism Found to be Present at Birth in Low-Birth-Weight Infants

A new study has shown that the condition of Autism may be present at birth, especially in underweight babies. Michigan State University conducted a study on 1,105 low birth weight infants born in the 1980's. These infants all received cranial ultrasounds soon after birth which documented slightly larger ventricular space.
These larger ventricles coincided with a loss of white matter in the brain. The ventricles are shallow spaces within the cerebrum and cerebellum that produce and store cerebrospinal fluid. CSF supports that health of the brain and spinal cord as it is produced and absorbed into the body. These children with larger ventricles were interviewed later on in life to explore further signs of Autism. It was determined that underweight infants are seven times more likely to develop some form of this condition.
Previous studies have shown that premature babies, who are generally underweight, are more susceptible to this condition. They are also more likely to have larger ventricles. This suggests that Autism may be more likely to develop from conditions prior to birth. It also indicates the importance of white matter in the brain. Further research must be completed to learn more about the functions of white matter and if there is any prenatal support that can be offered to ensure proper size of the ventricles.

Posted by: Ashley Sterpka (1)

Work Cited: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130225112510.htm


  1. Is there something that happens in the womb that contributes to the risks of autism in newborns? And If the weight issue could be addressed, does that eliminate the problem in total? I think that finding the source of the problem from the very beginning can decrease further development and signs of autism.

    Kimberly Ty (3)

  2. I know a couple of mothers that their children have autism neither of them had underweight babies but they both were diagnosed with toxoplasmosis, have you heard anything about the relationship with toxoplasmosis and autism at all?
    Tonya Sulham (3)

    1. Taxoplasmosis can also contribute to the occurrence of Autism. The overall health of the mother during pregnancy has shown effects on the fetus. This study does not say that birth weight causes Autism, but rather that it can be a contributing factor.

      posted by Ashley Sterpka (1)

  3. Why do you think low birth weight is correlated with autism? Do you think this correlation is a sign of some kind of broader prenatal underdevelopment that is linked to autism? I suppose this is hard to say, since very little is really known about the neurological causes of autism.

    Posted by Sean McDougall

    1. Although focusing on low birth weight, this study is also looking at the abnormally large ventricles in the brain. This condition is also correlated with schizophrenia.

      posted by Ashley Sterpka(1)

  4. It is difficult to attribute autism to premature birth or low birth weight. Underweight babies have multiple disabilities. And, by the time they get to go home, they have been given too many drugs to keep them alive as well.

    So, it means that children with normal white matter in CNS will not have Autism in their future? I think there should be an experiment to tell us that as well.

    Also, this experiment was at least 20 years long which I don't think that would give accurate data as well.

    Setareh Sepasi (3)