London: Significant advances in neonatal intensive care have led to increased survival rates of children born at less than 26 weeks of gestation known as "extremely preterm children" but a new study reveals that they are more likely to have psychiatric disorders.
An 11-year follow-up study of 219 extremely preterm children discovered that almost one quarter of such children had a psychiatric disorder at 11 years of age.
The most frequent psychiatric conditions were Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (12 percent), emotional disorders (nine percent), and Autism Spectrum Disorders (eight percent).
The investigation also reports a three-fold overall greater risk of subsequent mental health problems in those children born prematurely.
This is the first study to systematically investigate the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in a contemporary population of extremely preterm survivors, says a release of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
The data were collected as part of the EPICure Study which followed up extremely preterm children born in the UK and Ireland at one year, two-and-half years, six-eight years, and 10-11 years.
The EPICure study, established in 1995, was intended to determine the chances of survival and subsequent health of survivors.
These findings are slated for publication in the May issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.