(BOSTON) -- Pooling the results of 40 previously published studies, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have identified conditions in the womb and just after birth that may be linked to autism.
After examining more than 60 prenatal and neonatal risk factors, they found that more than 15 were associated with an increased risk of autism. Among them were: umbilical-cord complications, fetal distress, birth injury, maternal hemorrhage, low birth weight, congenital malformations, feeding difficulties, neonatal anemia, and a low 5-minute Apgar score.
The authors of the study, published Monday in Pediatrics, concluded that “there is insufficient evidence to implicate any one perinatal or neonatal factor in autism etiology, although there is some evidence to suggest that exposure to a broad class of conditions reflecting general compromises to perinatal and neonatal health may increase the risk.”
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