Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Limited research has focused explicitly on the association between neonatal jaundice and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and inconclusive evidence exists in the literature within this framework. This study aimed specifically to investigate whether neonatal jaundice is a potential risk factor for ASD and whether there is a connection between the types of neonatal jaundice and the severity of ASD. Materials and method: This study involved 119 children with ASD [90 males (75.6%), 29 females (24.4%), mean age: 45.39 ± 11.29 months] and 133 healthy controls [100 males (75.2%), 33 females (24.8%), mean age: 46.92 ± 11.42 months]. Psychiatric disorders were diagnosed through the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria. Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) was used to assess the screening and diagnosis of autism. A specially prepared personal information sheet was employed to investigate sociodemographic characteristics and birth and clinical histories. Results: The rate of the history of jaundice and pathological jaundice requiring hospitalization and phototherapy were significantly higher in the ASD group compared to the controls. CARS total score and the mean scores of nearly all items were statistically higher in children with a history of pathological jaundice than those with a history of physiological jaundice. Conclusion: Neonatal jaundice, depends on its severity, seems to be one of the possible biological factors associated with subsequent development of and the severity of ASD. Establishing a causal relationship between neonatal jaundice and ASD by more comprehensive studies may contribute to alleviating of the severity of ASD for individuals at risk.

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