Autism Linked to Jaundice In Newborns

Filed in Gather News Channel by on October 11, 2010 0 Comments

The results of a study by researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark shows that infants diagnosed with jaundice were 67 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism.  Researchers also found that babies born to mothers who already had given birth were also at greater risk to develop autism.  According to MSNBC, the study shows that babies born in the darker months of the year (generally October through March), are also more likely to develop autism.

Jaundice in newborns is caused by a build up of bilirubin in the babies blood.  The liver is responsible for breaking down the bilirubin, but a newborn’s liver can be slow to kick into action allowing the bilirubin level to rise to unsafe levels.  Jaundice causes a yellowing of the babies skin and eyes.  Jaundice babies are sometimes said to look as if they have a suntan.  Left untreated, jaundice can cause brain damage.  Although roughly 60 percent of babies develop some type of jaundice, only about 5 percent of jaundiced newborns require treatment.

This research will likely cause alarm and panic in parents of jaundiced newborns around the world.  Experts say that the link does not mean that jaundice causes autism.  The study just means that the link between jaundice and autism needs to be studied further. In other words, the study creates as many questions as it answers. Add these new concerns to the wide held belief by parents that autism is linked to the MMR vaccine and you have lots of parents losing lots of sleep while the medical community scrambles to reassure parents and find answers.  The take away?  If your newborn develops yellow skin or the white of the baby’s eyes appear yellow, seek your pediatrician’s advice.  Beyond that, there is no point in worrying yourself sick about the future.  The bottom line is that the medical community still doesn’t know what causes autism.



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