Screen time linked to autism in boys, study finds

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In a new study from the University of Yamanashi, researchers found screen time is strongly linked to autism spectrum disorder among boys at age 3 years.

They examined the association between screen time in infancy and the development of autism spectrum disorder at age 3 years.

They used data from 84,030 mother-child dyads in a large birth cohort in Japan. Screen time was measured at age 1 year.

The researchers found that at age 3 years, the prevalence of children with autism spectrum disorder was 392 per 100,000 (0.4%) and boys were three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

Screen time is linked to autism disorders in boys, and the more screen time, the higher the correlation.

No association was seen between autism spectrum disorder and screen time among girls.

The team says among boys, a strong association between longer screen time at 1 year of age and autism spectrum disorder at 3 years of age exists, irrespective of potential maternal maltreatment or predisposition to autism spectrum disorder at 1 year of age.

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The study is published in JAMA Pediatrics and was conducted by Megumi Kushima et al.

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