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Babies With Jaundice at Greater Risk for Autism!

Updated on April 4, 2012
Babies born with jaundice are at a greater risk for autism and other disorders.
Babies born with jaundice are at a greater risk for autism and other disorders.

Babies + Jaundice = Autism?

Babies born with jaundice* are at a greater risk for developing autism, although the correlation between the two isn't exactly understood, according to a new, comprehensive study. 

*Jaundice occurs when the yellow pigment that's found in bile (bilirubin), builds up faster than the liver can process it. It actually turns the skin and eyes yellow. 

The study was conducted in Denmark, following their national registries of all babies born between 1994-2004. The study monitored approximately 734,000 babies.  

Babies, Jaundice and Autism... More Findings..

Here's what transpired. Of all the babies born, about 36,000 were born with jaundice and about 580 developed autism, while about 1,700 developed a psychological disorder of some kind. 

The researchers determined that full-term babies born with jaundice had a 56% greater chance of developing "autistic spectrum disorder" (autism) in childhood than those who did not have the condition.

The study appeared in the journal, Pediatrics.

Jaundice, Babies & Autism: More Results

Scientists also determined that those babies born with jaundice were at more risk of developing other types of learning, psychological and speech disorders.

And there's more news. Jaundice seems to appear in the last weeks of gestation. Those born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, and first born children, did not suffer from the condition, nor did those born in the spring and fall. (In winter, women don't get as much sunlight as in spring and fall, and sunlight helps break down the yellow pigment found in bile.)

Moral of the story: Be aware of the effects of jaundice, not only in regard to autism but in regard to other pshchological disorders!


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