A child with autism born weeks before or after their due date is more likely to experience greater severity in symptoms, according to a new study.
Researchers at Michigan State University identified that children born prior to 37 weeks or after 42 weeks had heightened autistic tendencies and were also more likely to self harm.
However, a reason why this link occurs is not yet known but indicates that time of birth could influence the autistic spectrum
Nonetheless, this is the first study to examine the association between severity of symptoms and pre-term and post-term births.
Dr Tammy Movas, leader of the study, commented: "We think about autism being caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors [but] with pre-term and post-term babies, there is something underlying that is altering the genetic expression of autism."
Previous studies have identified a link between premature birth and the development of autism.
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