Study finds preemies more likely to score positive

Jan 29, 2009

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC), in collaboration with other medical centers, have found that children born more than three months premature, are at three times the risk for screening positive on the modified checklist for autism in toddlers (M-CHAT). Children who screen positive on M-CHAT may be at greater risk for developing autism. These findings appear in the January issue of Journal of Pediatrics.

The Council on Children with Disabilities of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians screen for an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) if there are concerns about the child's development. One of the ASD-specific screening tools is the M-CHAT. The M-CHAT is a checklist that asks the parent/caregiver to report on 23 behaviors. Checking any three items or two of six critical items as "unable to perform" leads to a positive screen on M-CHAT.

The researchers enrolled more than 1,500 infants born more than three months early at one of 14 hospitals in five states. An M-CHAT was completed by the nearly 1,000 caregivers of children who returned for follow-up evaluation at age 2.

According to the researchers, when an M-CHAT is used as a screen in unselected children during well-child care visits between 16 and 30 months of age, 5.7 percent screen positive. Overall, more than 21 percent of the children in this study screened positive. The study investigators found that the presence of multiple physical handicaps appears to contribute to screening positive, independent of true autism risk. "However, in our study, even after excluding those children with motor, vision and hearing impairments, we still found 16 percent screened positive," said lead author Karl Kuban, MD, SMEpi, a professor of pediatrics and neurology at BUSM and Chief, Division of Pediatric Neurology at BMC.

"Because we have not yet determined if those who screened positive satisfy criteria for an ASD, we cannot yet assess the predictive values of the M-CHAT among children born at extremely low gestational ages," he added.

Making a diagnosis of ASD often occurs after many years of symptoms, at times delaying appropriate services for children with the disorder. "Determining the predictive value for screening positive on the M-CHAT among extremely low gestational age children and among handicapped children may offer critical information for pediatricians, since the AAP has recommended early screening for autism," added Kuban.

Source: Boston University

Explore further: Philippines confirms second MERS case (Update)

Related Stories

Johns Hopkins study connects student vision with literacy

Jun 02, 2015

In the month after Alexander Dominguez joined Maygon Thompson's third-grade class at Charles Carroll Barrister Elementary School, he breezed through worksheets and quickly rose to be among the most studious members.

Recommended for you

Philippines confirms second MERS case (Update)

7 hours ago

A foreigner who flew to the Philippines from the Middle East has become the second confirmed case of MERS in the country, the health department said Monday, as a deadly outbreak in South Korea spreads alarm across Asia.

Immigrant children given adult dose of hepatitis A vaccine

Jul 04, 2015

About 250 immigrant children were given an adult dose of a hepatitis A vaccine at a Texas detention facility where they were being held with their mothers, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.