Parental Preterm Birth and Low Birth Weight May Carry Autism Risk Factors

January 18, 2021

Yale Reports Parent’s Birth Abnormalities and Offspring’s Autism Could Be Linked

New research from Yale’s School of Public Health has discovered that parents born very prematurely were nearly twice as likely to have children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared to parents who were born full term.  Published in the International Journal of Epidemiology,  this new study used Danish medical registry records between 1978 and 2017 to analyze close to 400,000 parent-child pairs to find evidence that ASD risk factors can span multiple generations. Senior author, Zeyan Liew,  reported that it remains unclear how autism risks travel across generations. However, he theorized that changes in gene activity in response to environmental stimuli could be obtained through epigenetic inheritance. Liew further explained that adverse birth characteristics can act as a substitute measure for possible heritable epigenetic modifications as a result of harmful prenatal exposures which could affect early life growth of an offspring. 

Original Article 

Original Study

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