A study of 988 children by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine has found that they were two to three times more likely to show signs of autism by the age of two as other children. The children were all born at least three months prematurely and were screened at the age of two. Under 6% of the children born full-term showed symptoms of autism compared to 21% of those born prematurely. Whether it is prematurity itself or a factor common to prematurity and autism that causes premature babies to develop the condition is unclear but premature birth is also associated with a number of other health problems including learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, lung problems and vision and hearing loss.
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