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: Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Pew studies American view of Internet impact

Feb 27, 2014

The Pew Research Center released this week its Pew Research Internet Project findings on how Americans view the Internet's impact on their lives and relationships. The findings are Part 2 of the think tanks's ...

QuadStick controller says Go for quadriplegic gamers

Feb 06, 2014

Children and adults sidelined by serious illness and immobility from life as healthy people know it b may find relief from anxiety and depression with a "pill" in the form of online games, a drug-free mood ...

Asian elephants reassure others in distress

Feb 18, 2014

Asian elephants console others who are in distress, using physical touches and vocalizations, finds a study to be published in the open access journal PeerJ. The findings are the first empirical evidence of con ...

Recommended for you

US orders farms to report pig virus infections

5 hours ago

The U.S. government is starting a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of a virus that has killed millions of pigs since showing up in the country last year.

Foreigner dies of MERS in Saudi

6 hours ago

A foreigner has died after she contracted MERS in the Saudi capital, the health ministry said on announced Friday, bringing the nationwide death toll to 73.

Vietnam battles fatal measles outbreak

9 hours ago

Vietnam is scrambling to contain a deadly outbreak of measles that has killed more than 100 people, mostly young children, and infected thousands more this year, the government said Friday.

New clues on tissue scarring in scleroderma

10 hours ago

A discovery by Northwestern Medicine scientists could lead to potential new treatments for breaking the cycle of tissue scarring in people with scleroderma.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...