Research Claims No Association Between Preterm Birth and Autism

February 19, 2024

Initial Findings Discovered a Link, After Adjusting Confounding Factors, the Connection Disappeared

A team of Israeli researchers recently presented a new study at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s annual meeting that found no connection between premature birth and the development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Their findings challenge previous research demonstrating a significant association between those two factors. The research involved the team analyzing data from over 114,000 deliveries in Israel between 2005 and 2017. Initially, their analysis found a notable link between preterm delivery and autism diagnosis. However, after adjusting for confounding factors like ethnicity and maternal age, the analysis revealed no significant association between preterm birth and ASD. The authors suggest that their comprehensive analysis, encompassing a diverse participant pool, underscores the complex and multifactorial nature of autism’s etiology. Lead author Sapir Ellouk, MD, MPH, emphasizes that while the exact cause of autism remains complex, it is unlikely to be attributed to a single obstetric factor, highlighting the necessity for a holistic approach to understanding and addressing this developmental disorder.

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Original Study

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