An Association between Neonatal Jaundice and Autism

Authors: H. Ošlejšková 1;  K. Kubíčková 2;  J. Foglová 2;  P. Hanáková 1;  Z. Makovská 1;  T. Pavlík 4;  Z. Doležel 3
Authors‘ workplace: Klinika dětské neurologie LF MU a FN Brno, Centrum pro epileptologii a epileptochirurgii LF MU, Brno 1;  LF MU, Brno 2;  Pediatrická klinika LF MU a FN Brno 3;  Institut biostatistiky a analýz LF MU, Brno 4
Published in: Cesk Slov Neurol N 2012; 75/108(4): 472-476
Category: Short Communication


Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) include neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by impaired social interaction, communication and stereotyped patterns of beha­viour and interests. The aetiology of autism is not fully understood, although both genetic and non-genetic factors are believed to be involved. Pathological neonatal jaundice (PNI) has been considered as a potential cause.

Aim of study:
The main aim of this study was to determine an association between PNI and autism in full-term and preterm infants.

Material and methods:
A retrospective case-control study was performed at the Department of Paediatric Neurology and Department of Paediatric Internal Medicine in Brno. The subjects were 328 patients, who had been diagnosed with ASD between 1999 and 2011. Medical records of 402 gender- and age-matched controls without the diagnosis of autism who were examined at the Department of Paediatric Internal Medicine, were also reviewed.

The autistic group had noticeable PNI in 17.1% (49/287) full-term infants and 29.3% (12/41) preterm infants. The control group had PNI in 9.5% (35/367) full-term infants and 45.7% (16/35) preterm infants. There was a statistically significant association between neonatal jaundice and autism in full-term infants (OR = 1.95, 95% CI 1.23–3.10, p = 0.005). The association between neonatal jaundice and autism in preterm infants was not confirmed (OR = 0.49; 95% CI 0.25–1.33; p = 0.255).

The study is the first to describe the association between PNI and autism in the Czech Republic and further studies will be necessary to confirm the results.

Key words:
autism – pathological neonatal jaundice – physiological neonatal jaundice – hyperbilirubinemia


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Paediatric neurology Neurosurgery Neurology

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Czech and Slovak Neurology and Neurosurgery

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