Two children in two years may increase risk for autism in younger child

Babies born less than a year after an older sibling were more likely to be diagnosed with autism, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics.

Researchers at Columbia University examined the birth records of some 660,000 California second-born children to determine their odds of being diagnosed with the puzzling developmental disorder.

Now for the hard question: why?

Researchers aren’t sure what the connection might be. One theory is that the woman who recently had a child could have depleted levels of important baby-growing nutrients such as folate and iron. Still, researchers didn’t test that idea. Peter Bearman, a Columbia sociologist who conducted the research said parents with children close in age might be more likely to notice when a sibling isn’t developing on target.

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