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