After extracting neonatal dried blood samples, researchers determined out of the nearly 28,000 newborns, 310 developed a developmental disorder. Researchers were then able to determine the risk factor for autism by looking at vitamin D deficiencies at birth.
According to the findings, the vitamin D levels of the 310 newborns diagnosed with a developmental disorder were abnormally lower, compared to the rest of the participants.
The results suggest that children with vitamin D deficiencies are at higher risk — 260 percent, to be exact — of being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by age 3.
“Neonatal vitamin D status was significantly associated with the risk of ASDs and intellectual disability. The nature of those relationships was nonlinear,” Dr. Yuan-Lin Zheng, the lead researcher, concluded.
Autism spectrum disorder: Asperger’s syndrome, autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) — affects 1 in 68 children in the U.S., according to a report by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).