Newborns with jaundice more likely to develop autism: study

Oct 11, 2010

Infants born with jaundice are at much greater risk of developing autism, a study published Monday showed.

The study published in the US journal Pediatrics found full-term infants born in Denmark between 1994 and 2004 who had jaundice were 67 percent more likely to develop .

Neonatal jaundice is usually caused by elevated production of bilirubin, a substance found in bile that results from the normal breakdown of .

Jaundice is seen in 60 percent of term infants and usually resolves within the first week of life, but prolonged exposure to high bilirubin levels is neurotoxic and can cause lifelong developmental problems, the study says.

In this study researchers found the risk of autism was higher if the mother had had previous children, or, somewhat oddly, if the child was born between October and March.

The risk for autism disappeared if the child was a firstborn child or was born between April and September. Authors suggest the seasonal difference may be due to different levels of exposure to daylight, which has an effect on jaundice, or due to infections.

The difference in risk in firstborn versus subsequent children could be due to different levels of in women who have had multiple pregnancies, or it could reflect different levels of access to health care in the first days after delivery.

In Denmark, women with healthy term newborns who have already had children are discharged soon after delivery. Women having their first child remain in the hospital for three to four days, and so jaundice may be diagnosed while the infant is still in the hospital.

Explore further: CDC charges Johns Hopkins to lead development of Ebola training module

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Universal screening lowers risk of severe jaundice in infants

Sep 28, 2009

Screening all newborns for excessive bilirubin in the blood can significantly decrease the incidence of severe jaundice which, in extreme cases, can lead to seizures and brain damage, according to researchers at UCSF Children's ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
1 / 5 (1) Oct 11, 2010
Is there a relationship between high bilirubin and vitamin D3 deficiency since there appears to be a strong direct relationship between autism spectrum disorders and D3 deficiency in first the mother during pregnancy then in the subject?
origamimaster
not rated yet Oct 11, 2010
It is a little known fact that afterbirth jaundice is mostly caused by vitamin K shots, given to avert bleeding of the brain in a very small percentage of infants...despite this, parents are made to feel guilty when jaundice occurs.