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Autism Spectrum Disorder and Neonatal Serum Magnesium Levels in Preterm Infants

Premature birth is associated with increased risk of autism spectrum disorder. Antenatal maternal magnesium administration is known to reduce subsequent risk of cerebral palsy including among premature infants, suggesting a potentially broader neuro- protective role for magnesium. Our objective was to determine whether magnesium could be protective against autism spectrum disorders in premature infants. A cohort of 4855 preterm children was identified, magnesium levels from 24 to 48 hours of life recorded, and subsequent autism spectrum disorder status determined. Adjusted relative risk of autism spectrum disorder with each 1 mg/dL increase in neonatal magnesium level was 1.15 (95% confidence interval: 0.86-1.53). Analysis of variance indicated that magnesium levels varied by gestational age and maternal antenatal magnesium supplementation, but not autism spectrum disorder status (F1,4824 1.43, P .23). We found that neonatal magnesium levels were not associated with decreased autism spectrum disorder risk. Future research into autism spectrum disorder risks and treatments in premature infants is needed.

Amanda V. Bakian, PhD, Deborah A. Bilder, MD, E. Kent Korgenski, MS, and Joshua L. Bonkowsky, MD, PhD
Child Neurology Open

Utah Department of Health