TV viewing in infancy was associated with increased risk of autistic symptoms

Children who start early to watch TV, a bit higher risk of the onset of symptoms similar to autism (but not the actual autism spectrum disorders). The risk is reduced if parents play with the child. Article published in the journal Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics.

According to averaged data , one child in 160 suffers from autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In individual studies the numbers are even higher: for example, in the United States have estimatedthat the RACES have with one child 59. A significant contribution to the risk of RACES makes heredity, however, is important and the environment in which the child is growing, but its impact on the probability of RACES are poorly understood.

Frequent viewing of TV is suspected to increase the risk of symptoms of ASD. Children who spend a lot of time in front of the screen, not so much to communicate with parents, and they have fewer opportunities to learn social interactions.

Scientists from the United States under the leadership of David Bennett (David Bennett) from the Medical College of Drexel University analyzed data, which are received in a National study of children (National Children’s Study). This project was conceived as a large-scale study of the influence of the environment on the health and development of children in the US, but it turned before the end.

Group David Bennett used the results of a survey conducted among parents of toddlers. Ask them, does their child a TV, how often relatives read to him or play with him. Six months later, the same people answered, how many hours per day their children watch TV. And when the children turned 19 to 30 months, parents filled out a questionnaire to identify the characteristics of the RACES of M-CHAT. For the analysis took data on 2152 children.

From 150 children (seven percent of the participants) found the symptoms of ASD. Children who watched TV in 12 months, two years at 4.2% was higher than the risk of symptoms similar to autism, but not the actual RACES. The time that children spent in front of the screen at 18 months did not affect the symptoms of ASD. If the parents played with the children every day, the risk was reduced by 8.9 percent, but the reading aloud had nothing to do with RACES.

In addition, the risk of RACES and similar symptoms were higher in children who were born before 36 weeks of pregnancy, in families of ethnic minorities (Hispanics or blacks) or low-income families and have parents who did not speak English. The authors indicate that these results may be attributed to unaccounted parameters and the studied variables can depend on each other. However, the data are consistent with the results of previous studies (1, 2).

Lack of knowledge of factors that influence the development of autism, gives rise to many rumors and superstitions. Perhaps the most famous and dangerous fear of autism, of vaccination (especially vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella). This myth finally destroyed a year ago in a study of 657 thousand children.

Alice Bahareva

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