Extreme Preterm Ups Psych Disorder Risk

NOTTINGHAM, England, April 27 (UPI) — Almost one-quarter of extremely preterm children — less than 26 weeks of gestation — had a psychiatric disorder at age 11, British researchers found.

Samantha Johnson of the University College London and University of Nottingham and colleagues said the 11-year study of 219 extremely preterm children found the most frequent psychiatric conditions were attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder at 12 percent. Nine percent had emotional disorders and 8 percent had Autism Spectrum Disorders.

The study found a threefold greater risk of subsequent mental health problems in children born prematurely.

The data were from the EPICure Study which tracked extremely preterm children born in Britain at ages 1, 2.5, 6-8 and 10-11.

“Clinically, the findings suggest that much greater emphasis should be placed on early cognitive and psychological monitoring of extremely preterm children for emerging neuropsychiatric and emotional disorders,” Johnson said in a statement.

The findings are scheduled to be presented in the May issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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