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Clin Perinatol. 2009 Dec;36(4):791-805, vi. doi: 10.1016/j.clp.2009.07.010.

Autism spectrum disorders in survivors of extreme prematurity.

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Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University, 2300 Tupper Street, Montreal, Quebec, H3H 1P3, Canada.


Recent studies in survivors of extreme prematurity point to an increased prevalence of a previously underrecognized atypical social-behavioral profile strongly suggestive of an autism spectrum disorder. Prospective studies that incorporate early autism screening and autism diagnostic testing are needed to better delineate the sensitivity and specificity of early signs of autism in ex-premature children. Advances in neonatal MRI techniques capable of quantitative structural and functional measurements will also provide important insights into the effects of prematurity itself, and prematurity-related brain injury on the genesis of autism spectrum disorders in this population. Available evidence linking prematurity and autism spectrum disorders is reviewed in this article.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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