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: Possible breakthrough in battle against drug-resistant diseases

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Singapore grapples with smartphone addiction

Jun 14, 2014

Easily distracted? Can't be separated from your smartphone? Constantly checking your device for no real reason? Chances are you're an addict—and you may even need professional help.

Glasses-free 3-D projector (w/ Video)

May 16, 2014

Over the past three years, researchers in the Camera Culture group at the MIT Media Lab have steadily refined a design for a glasses-free, multiperspective, 3-D video screen, which they hope could provide ...

Tablet computers for global literacy

May 01, 2014

In two remote villages in rural Ethiopia, a team of literacy and technology experts from Tufts and MIT launched a grand experiment with a simple gesture: they dropped off a handful of tablet computers for ...

Male-biased tweeting

Apr 23, 2014

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...

Recommended for you

Mouth bacteria invade the gut in liver cirrhosis patients

46 minutes ago

An invasion of the gut by mouth bacteria could be responsible for the development of liver cirrhosis, according to new research led by Professor Stanislav Dusko Ehrlich, who was recently appointed as Director ...

New device detects deadly lung disease

4 hours ago

A scientist from the University of Exeter has developed a simple, cheap and highly accurate device for diagnosing a frequently fatal lung disease which attacks immune deficient individuals such as cancer ...

User comments : 0