Autism Linked to Newborns Who Had Jaundice

AARHUS, Denmark, Oct. 11 (UPI) — Newborns who have jaundice have a greater risk of being diagnosed with a developmental disorder such as autism, Danish researchers say.

Rikke Damkjaer Maimburg of Aarhus University in Denmark and colleagues say they used data from the Danish Medical Birth Register — a data base of information on all born in Denmark — says babies born at term with jaundice had a 56 percent greater risk of the specific diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder — a disorder on the autism spectrum — than those without jaundice, MedPage Today reported.


The study, published online ahead of print in the November issue of the journal Pediatrics, also notes that the association were strong for newborns born between October and March and those born to women who had had previous pregnancies.

Researchers say they analyzed data on 733,826 children born in Denmark from 1994 to 2004, which finds a total of 35,766 children had been diagnosed with neonatal jaundice, while 1,721 were given a diagnosis of a disorder of psychological development during childhood.

Jaundice was more common among boys, infants born preterm, infants with congenital malformations and low-birthweight infants.

In an earlier study, Maimburg and colleagues found a nearly fourfold increased risk of autism among children who had neonatal jaundice, the study says.

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