Can a brain bleed cause Autism?

I have a friend with a nice, reasonably sociable intelligent kid. He was born very premature and as a result he had some bleeding in his brain and now has some issues. He has also been diagnosed as having aspergers syndrome. She seems to equate the bleed on his brain with him being on the autism spectrum. Is she correct?

Most evidence is pointing towards AS being caused by genetic factors.

io9 has a report on studies being discussed at the current International Meeting for Autism Research. Lots of interesting stuff & links to even more interesting stuff.


Yes, preemies have higher rates of autism. Micropreemies have higher rates of autism than older preemies. Preemies who have cerebral bleeds have higher rates of autism than preemies who don’t have bleeds.

But that doesn’t mean the bleed *caused *the autism. It may be that something else (genetics, gestational diabetes, perhaps even an infection in pregnancy) caused the autism *and *the brain bleed *and *the prematurity. We just don’t know.

On a practical note, I wouldn’t try to talk her out of it. Really, it doesn’t do much good at this point. The child now has autism, and we don’t treat autism after a brain bleed and differently than we do autism with no history of brain bleed. She needs, emotionally if not logically, something to ascribe this condition to, and a brain bleed is as good as any other reason, and a better one than most.