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AUTISM AND HEAD CIRCUMFERENCE IN THE FIRST YEAR OF LIFE

Biol Psychiatry 56:892-894, 2004

Torrey EF, Dhavale D, Lawlor JP, Yolken RH

ABSTRACT:

BACKGROUND: It has been reported that children with autism and pervasive developmental disorder have a significantly smaller head circumference at birth and that their head circumference then increases disproportionately rapidly in the first year of life.

METHODS: We attempted to replicate these findings using 15 narrowly defined autistic children from the National Collaborative Perinatal Project and approximately 40,000 nonautistic controls subjects.

RESULTS: The autistic group had a slightly but not significantly larger head circumference at birth. At 4 months, the head circumference in the autistic group was not significantly larger than that of control subjects, but body weight and length were significantly larger in the autistic group.

CONCLUSIONS: We believe this is the first report of significant general body growth in autistic children in infancy; the larger head circumference may be part of this excessive general growth.

 

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