iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The measles have made a comeback with 84 cases in the latest outbreak, not to mention 644 cases last year alone. Given that the infectious disease was eliminated decades ago by vaccines, it’s not surprising that its resurgence has some people scratching their heads.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is measles?

It is a viral disease that is extremely contagious, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every person who gets it can spread it to 18 other people.

It starts with a fever, a runny nose and a cough, but a few days later, tiny white spots appear in the mouth. Then a rash appears and spreads throughout the body, and that fever can spike to 104 degrees.

“The infection itself, uncomplicated, is seven days of abject misery as a child,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chief of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

About one or two in every 1,000 people who get it will die, according to the CDC. The disease was so widespread that hundreds of thousands of children died before a vaccine was introduced, Schaffner said.

Complications include ear infections in about one in ten children who get the measles, and this can result in permanent hearing loss. Other complications include pneumonia, and swelling of the brain.

How is it spread?

The measles virus is airborne, meaning it can spread through the air and can remain airborne for a few hours. You can catch if from an infected person even after that person has left the room.

According to the CDC, a sick person will spread the measles to 90 percent of the people close to them that are not immune.

The virus can also survive on surfaces for up to two hours, according to the CDC.

Why is it making a comeback?

A measles vaccine was first licensed in 1963, and then lumped into the MMR vaccine in 1971, according to a timeline by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The vaccine is 95 percent effective and measles is considered a vaccine-preventable disease.

Cases steadily declined, reaching an all time low of 37 cases in 2004, according to CDC data. But thanks to “clusters” of unvaccinated people in the United States, coupled with increased international travel, cases are back up.

“Those clusters fuel the imported outbreaks,” Schaffner said, adding that the clusters are often well-educated but misinformed parents who lack “respect” and “fear” of the disease because they’ve never experienced it.

Many fear that the MMR vaccine will cause autism, though the claim has since been debunked and the doctor who authored the fraudulent study has lost his medical license.

The CDC reported 644 measles cases in 2014 alone as part of about 20 separate outbreaks.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) — Rafi and Dvora Meitiv were walking home from the park recently in Silver Spring, Maryland, when they were suddenly confronted by strangers. Not a gang member, or a bully, or a child molester, but the police.

“We were over here about to cross the street the two police cars pull up here, stopped, the doors opened then the whole thing started,” Rafi said.

The Montgomery County Police gave the kids a stern warning about walking alone, put them in the squad car and drove them home.

“I look out and see the police and thought, ‘Oh my God, what did they do?’” said their father Alexander Meitiv. “I asked did they do something, they said ‘no,’ I said, ‘OK, I’ll take my children,’ then I realized they wouldn’t let me take them.”

Maryland Child Protective Services then accused the Meitivs of neglect, saying unless they committed to a safety plan, the kids would have to go into foster homes. In Silver Spring, leaving anyone under age 18 unsupervised constitutes neglect.

Before the police found them, Rafi and Dvora, ages 10 and 6, said they used to run around outside and cross the street by themselves all the time. Their parents, Alexander and Danielle Meitiv, said they trust their children and want to give them the freedom to make mistakes, away from the parental safety net.

It’s an approach known these days as “free range parenting,” which to the Meitivs is an age-old tradition.

“I’m just parenting the way I was parented and the way that almost every adult I know was parented,” Danielle said.

Suddenly this middle-class suburban family found themselves smack in the middle of a national parenting debate.

In an era of helicopter parenting, many people wouldn’t dream of letting their kids leave their sight unattended.

Plenty of parents are rightly concerned about all the menaces of modern life — kidnappers, perverts, violent crime, a broken bone, a drunk driver, having their kids snatched or lost, or fall victim to countless other horrors.

But there is also a growing movement of parents who refuse to hover.

Lenore Skenazy is a champion of free range parenting, and stars on a reality TV show on Discovery Life.

“The concept is that I…go to families that are extremely over-protective and nervous and I find out all the things the kids aren’t allowed to do,” Skenazy said. “I make helicopter parents see what their kids can really do, stuff that they didn’t believe because they never let them do it.”

The title of her new show: World’s Worst Mom. It’s an insult she has been called many times. ABC’s Nightline first profiled Skenazy in 2009 when she let her then-9-year-old son Izzy take the New York City subway by himself.

“We thought, ‘Gee, you know, he knows the subway, he knows how to use the card that gets you on,’” she said. “We sat him down, we made sure he knew how to read a map, but he’s been reading maps forever, and then we thought about the city. Is the city safe? Well our crime rate is back to 1963 and we’re talking about Sunday which is a nice, easygoing day.”

Izzy is now in high school. After that first trip, he was inspired to start pushing the boundaries further, gaining confidence and street smarts with every trip outside the nest. He is now an impressively confident, self-sufficient kid.

“Just because I know my way around doesn’t mean I never get lost. That’s part of the fun, find my way home from somewhere that my mom drops me off, it’s really helpful,” he said, adding that he’s gotten stopped by the police three times for riding the subway by himself.

But in Maryland, the Meitivs are still under investigation. The Maryland Child Protective Services declined to comment on the case, citing confidentiality laws.

But even some supporters of free range parenting say there should be limits.

“A 10-year-old should never be in charge of a 6-year-old,” said Susan Klein-Shilling, a child and family therapist. “It’s not about the 6-year-old being abducted or something terrible on the outside happening, but even potentially the 6-year-old spraining their ankle or having an asthma attack, or any kind of thing that could happen to a child of that age.”

But the Meitivs say they are the best ones to judge if their kids are ready, and if their neighborhood is safe enough, for them to be on their own, not the government.

“Frankly I think that raising independent children and responsible children and giving them the freedom that i enjoyed is a risk worth taking,” Danielle Meitiv said. “In the end it’s our decision as parents.”

“It’s essential for our development,” Rafi added. “I love it and it’s just a part of our life.”

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Joseph Camacho(SUN VALLEY, Calif.) — The father of a man stabbed to death by his roommate in a southern California hospital psych ward won $3 million in punitive damages on Tuesday against the hospital where his son died. But money isn’t on his mind. He wants to make sure it never happens again.

“Mentally challenged individuals have just as many rights as other people,” Joseph Camacho, 79, told ABC News. “Most of the time, they [hospitals] just seem to ignore them and treat them like prisoners instead of a patient.”

His son, Dean Camacho, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was attacked at Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Sun Valley, California, by his roommate, Jerry Romansky in 2011, according to court documents.

The hospital put the two men in the same room of the hospital’s behavioral health unit despite Romansky’s violent history, and didn’t check on them every 15 minutes as they were supposed to, according to the plaintiff’s trial brief. Romansky was hearing voices that told him to “kill himself and others,” according to the brief, and he had tried to strangle a previous roommate at Pacifica with a towel, it said.

Though rooms throughout the hospital were equipped with emergency buzzers, they had been disabled in the mental health wing, according to Joseph Camacho’s lawyer, John Marcin.

Romansky, whose father testified against the hospital as well, stabbed Camacho with a metal bracket that he broke off from a toilet in the room, severing one of Camacho’s arteries and causing him to bleed to death, Marcin said.

He said the hospital’s deficiencies had mostly not changed in the more than three years since the murder.

“I think that’s why the jury became so angry,” Marcin said. “I asked the jury for $2 million in punitive damages, and they came back and awarded 3 [million dollars], they were so angry.”

The jury awarded $5.2 million in damages in all.

“It gives you a good feeling that you’re all on the same page,” Camacho said. “The hospital wasn’t.”

Joseph Camacho and Romansky’s father had a connection in a way because they each lost a son, Joseph Camacho said. Dean Camacho died, and Romansky is serving a prison sentence as a result of Camacho’s murder. They’d both been wronged by the hospital, he said.

Pacifica Hospital of the Valley did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

The hospital’s lawyer argued that its doctor had no knowledge Romansky would become violent and kill Camacho, and the two men did not have any prior conflict, according to the defense brief.

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Patrick and Erin Quarles(AUSTIN, Texas) — Gwendolyn Quarles has a brain disorder that appeared soon after another child lobbed a football at her face in October of last year, her parents said. Her father, Patrick Quarles, said the incident was no accident.

“On the day of the injury, Gwendolyn was in gym class and the coaches left the children alone,” Quarles, a 43-year-old sales representative for an electrical supply company, told ABC News. “There seems to have been an argument and then she remembers a ball flying at her.”

After complaining of a floating feeling, the 11-year-old was sent to the nurse, her father said. Later in the day, her parents took her to the emergency room near her home in Austin, Texas, where she was diagnosed with intracranial hypertension, a rare disorder where pressure inside the skull chokes off the optic nerve from the brain.

The family had notified the school numerous times about previous incidents in which Gwendolyn was pushed around, her father said.

The girl’s mother, Erin Quarles, said that doctors have told the family that they cannot definitively confirm that the disorder is a result of the injury, but according to the Intracranial Hypertension Foundation, the condition is usually the result of a severe head injury.

The school where the incident occurred is The Founder’s Classic Academy, part of the Responsive Education Solutions, a charter school system in Texas. Mary Ann Duncan, vice president of school operations for RES, said they wished the child a speedy recovery but would neither confirm nor deny the incident occurred.

“We are not allowed to speak about confidential student information but the school’s policy is to investigate and notify parents promptly of any accident or bullying,” Duncan said.

It’s unclear whether Quarles will completely recover from the injury, said her parents, who fear she may go blind even if she undergoes risky and expensive surgery. Besides problems with her eyesight, her father said she was also experiencing other difficulties.

“She sometimes has trouble understanding me and sometimes she will trip over things. It comes and goes,” he said, though her mother said her daughter’s symptoms have improved in the last several days.

Gwendolyn is at the prime age for being bullied, according to government statistics. About a third of children report being threatened at school, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the likelihood of bullying peaks in the middle school years when kids are age 10 to 14.

“Kids who are bullied have higher rates of anxiety and depression and lower self-esteem,” said Dr. Joe Shrand, the medical director of CASTLE, an adolescent addiction treatment center in Brockton, Massachusetts.

Though only a small percentage of bullying turns physical, Shrand said kids who are bullied have a higher risk of physical ailments such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and suicide throughout their lifetime. Sometimes kids who are bullied turn the tables and become “victim bullies” perpetuating the cycle, he added.

Quarles said his family has racked up substantial medical bills as a result of his daughter’s condition, only some of which have been covered by insurance. The family has started a GoFundMe.com campaign to help cover the out-of-pocket costs, which Quarles said are piling up quickly.

The family said they sent at least 23 emails to the school, warning them that she was being pushed around by a group of other girls and that they feared the situation might escalate into something physical, Patrick Quarles said. The school did make attempts to remedy the situation, the parents said, but they wish everyone — themselves included — had done more.

And when something actually happened, he said he and his wife were in shock.

“You think, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ But you never think this,” Quarles said.

Since no adult was present when it happened, it’s impossible to get the entire story, Quarles said, adding that the family does not plan to sue.

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Joseph Camacho(SUN VALLEY, Calif.) — The father of a man stabbed to death by his roommate in a southern California hospital psych ward won $3 million in punitive damages on Tuesday against the hospital where his son died. But money isn’t on his mind. He wants to make sure it never happens again.

“Mentally challenged individuals have just as many rights as other people,” Joseph Camacho, 79, told ABC News. “Most of the time, they [hospitals] just seem to ignore them and treat them like prisoners instead of a patient.”

His son, Dean Camacho, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was attacked at Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Sun Valley, California, by his roommate, Jerry Romansky in 2011, according to court documents.

The hospital put the two men in the same room of the hospital’s behavioral health unit despite Romansky’s violent history, and didn’t check on them every 15 minutes as they were supposed to, according to the plaintiff’s trial brief. Romansky was hearing voices that told him to “kill himself and others,” according to the brief, and he had tried to strangle a previous roommate at Pacifica with a towel, it said.

Though rooms throughout the hospital were equipped with emergency buzzers, they had been disabled in the mental health wing, according to Joseph Camacho’s lawyer, John Marcin.

Romansky, whose father testified against the hospital as well, stabbed Camacho with a metal bracket that he broke off from a toilet in the room, severing one of Camacho’s arteries and causing him to bleed to death, Marcin said.

He said the hospital’s deficiencies had mostly not changed in the more than three years since the murder.

“I think that’s why the jury became so angry,” Marcin said. “I asked the jury for $2 million in punitive damages, and they came back and awarded 3 [million dollars], they were so angry.”

The jury awarded $5.2 million in damages in all.

“It gives you a good feeling that you’re all on the same page,” Camacho said. “The hospital wasn’t.”

Joseph Camacho and Romansky’s father had a connection in a way because they each lost a son, Joseph Camacho said. Dean Camacho died, and Romansky is serving a prison sentence as a result of Camacho’s murder. They’d both been wronged by the hospital, he said.

Pacifica Hospital of the Valley did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

The hospital’s lawyer argued that its doctor had no knowledge Romansky would become violent and kill Camacho, and the two men did not have any prior conflict, according to the defense brief.

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Joseph Camacho(SUN VALLEY, Calif.) — The father of a man stabbed to death by his roommate in a southern California hospital psych ward won $3 million in punitive damages on Tuesday against the hospital where his son died. But money isn’t on his mind. He wants to make sure it never happens again.

“Mentally challenged individuals have just as many rights as other people,” Joseph Camacho, 79, told ABC News. “Most of the time, they [hospitals] just seem to ignore them and treat them like prisoners instead of a patient.”

His son, Dean Camacho, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was attacked at Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Sun Valley, California, by his roommate, Jerry Romansky in 2011, according to court documents.

The hospital put the two men in the same room of the hospital’s behavioral health unit despite Romansky’s violent history, and didn’t check on them every 15 minutes as they were supposed to, according to the plaintiff’s trial brief. Romansky was hearing voices that told him to “kill himself and others,” according to the brief, and he had tried to strangle a previous roommate at Pacifica with a towel, it said.

Though rooms throughout the hospital were equipped with emergency buzzers, they had been disabled in the mental health wing, according to Joseph Camacho’s lawyer, John Marcin.

Romansky, whose father testified against the hospital as well, stabbed Camacho with a metal bracket that he broke off from a toilet in the room, severing one of Camacho’s arteries and causing him to bleed to death, Marcin said.

He said the hospital’s deficiencies had mostly not changed in the more than three years since the murder.

“I think that’s why the jury became so angry,” Marcin said. “I asked the jury for $2 million in punitive damages, and they came back and awarded 3 [million dollars], they were so angry.”

The jury awarded $5.2 million in damages in all.

“It gives you a good feeling that you’re all on the same page,” Camacho said. “The hospital wasn’t.”

Joseph Camacho and Romansky’s father had a connection in a way because they each lost a son, Joseph Camacho said. Dean Camacho died, and Romansky is serving a prison sentence as a result of Camacho’s murder. They’d both been wronged by the hospital, he said.

Pacifica Hospital of the Valley did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

The hospital’s lawyer argued that its doctor had no knowledge Romansky would become violent and kill Camacho, and the two men did not have any prior conflict, according to the defense brief.

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Patrick and Erin Quarles(AUSTIN, Texas) — Gwendolyn Quarles has a brain disorder that appeared soon after another child lobbed a football at her face in October of last year, her parents said. Her father, Patrick Quarles, said the incident was no accident.

“On the day of the injury, Gwendolyn was in gym class and the coaches left the children alone,” Quarles, a 43-year-old sales representative for an electrical supply company, told ABC News. “There seems to have been an argument and then she remembers a ball flying at her.”

After complaining of a floating feeling, the 11-year-old was sent to the nurse, her father said. Later in the day, her parents took her to the emergency room near her home in Austin, Texas, where she was diagnosed with intracranial hypertension, a rare disorder where pressure inside the skull chokes off the optic nerve from the brain.

The family had notified the school numerous times about previous incidents in which Gwendolyn was pushed around, her father said.

The girl’s mother, Erin Quarles, said that doctors have told the family that they cannot definitively confirm that the disorder is a result of the injury, but according to the Intracranial Hypertension Foundation, the condition is usually the result of a severe head injury.

The school where the incident occurred is The Founder’s Classic Academy, part of the Responsive Education Solutions, a charter school system in Texas. Mary Ann Duncan, vice president of school operations for RES, said they wished the child a speedy recovery but would neither confirm nor deny the incident occurred.

“We are not allowed to speak about confidential student information but the school’s policy is to investigate and notify parents promptly of any accident or bullying,” Duncan said.

It’s unclear whether Quarles will completely recover from the injury, said her parents, who fear she may go blind even if she undergoes risky and expensive surgery. Besides problems with her eyesight, her father said she was also experiencing other difficulties.

“She sometimes has trouble understanding me and sometimes she will trip over things. It comes and goes,” he said, though her mother said her daughter’s symptoms have improved in the last several days.

Gwendolyn is at the prime age for being bullied, according to government statistics. About a third of children report being threatened at school, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the likelihood of bullying peaks in the middle school years when kids are age 10 to 14.

“Kids who are bullied have higher rates of anxiety and depression and lower self-esteem,” said Dr. Joe Shrand, the medical director of CASTLE, an adolescent addiction treatment center in Brockton, Massachusetts.

Though only a small percentage of bullying turns physical, Shrand said kids who are bullied have a higher risk of physical ailments such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and suicide throughout their lifetime. Sometimes kids who are bullied turn the tables and become “victim bullies” perpetuating the cycle, he added.

Quarles said his family has racked up substantial medical bills as a result of his daughter’s condition, only some of which have been covered by insurance. The family has started a GoFundMe.com campaign to help cover the out-of-pocket costs, which Quarles said are piling up quickly.

The family said they sent at least 23 emails to the school, warning them that she was being pushed around by a group of other girls and that they feared the situation might escalate into something physical, Patrick Quarles said. The school did make attempts to remedy the situation, the parents said, but they wish everyone — themselves included — had done more.

And when something actually happened, he said he and his wife were in shock.

“You think, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ But you never think this,” Quarles said.

Since no adult was present when it happened, it’s impossible to get the entire story, Quarles said, adding that the family does not plan to sue.

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Patrick and Erin Quarles(AUSTIN, Texas) — Gwendolyn Quarles has a brain disorder that appeared soon after another child lobbed a football at her face in October of last year, her parents said. Her father, Patrick Quarles, said the incident was no accident.

“On the day of the injury, Gwendolyn was in gym class and the coaches left the children alone,” Quarles, a 43-year-old sales representative for an electrical supply company, told ABC News. “There seems to have been an argument and then she remembers a ball flying at her.”

After complaining of a floating feeling, the 11-year-old was sent to the nurse, her father said. Later in the day, her parents took her to the emergency room near her home in Austin, Texas, where she was diagnosed with intracranial hypertension, a rare disorder where pressure inside the skull chokes off the optic nerve from the brain.

The family had notified the school numerous times about previous incidents in which Gwendolyn was pushed around, her father said.

The girl’s mother, Erin Quarles, said that doctors have told the family that they cannot definitively confirm that the disorder is a result of the injury, but according to the Intracranial Hypertension Foundation, the condition is usually the result of a severe head injury.

The school where the incident occurred is The Founder’s Classic Academy, part of the Responsive Education Solutions, a charter school system in Texas. Mary Ann Duncan, vice president of school operations for RES, said they wished the child a speedy recovery but would neither confirm nor deny the incident occurred.

“We are not allowed to speak about confidential student information but the school’s policy is to investigate and notify parents promptly of any accident or bullying,” Duncan said.

It’s unclear whether Quarles will completely recover from the injury, said her parents, who fear she may go blind even if she undergoes risky and expensive surgery. Besides problems with her eyesight, her father said she was also experiencing other difficulties.

“She sometimes has trouble understanding me and sometimes she will trip over things. It comes and goes,” he said, though her mother said her daughter’s symptoms have improved in the last several days.

Gwendolyn is at the prime age for being bullied, according to government statistics. About a third of children report being threatened at school, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the likelihood of bullying peaks in the middle school years when kids are age 10 to 14.

“Kids who are bullied have higher rates of anxiety and depression and lower self-esteem,” said Dr. Joe Shrand, the medical director of CASTLE, an adolescent addiction treatment center in Brockton, Massachusetts.

Though only a small percentage of bullying turns physical, Shrand said kids who are bullied have a higher risk of physical ailments such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and suicide throughout their lifetime. Sometimes kids who are bullied turn the tables and become “victim bullies” perpetuating the cycle, he added.

Quarles said his family has racked up substantial medical bills as a result of his daughter’s condition, only some of which have been covered by insurance. The family has started a GoFundMe.com campaign to help cover the out-of-pocket costs, which Quarles said are piling up quickly.

The family said they sent at least 23 emails to the school, warning them that she was being pushed around by a group of other girls and that they feared the situation might escalate into something physical, Patrick Quarles said. The school did make attempts to remedy the situation, the parents said, but they wish everyone — themselves included — had done more.

And when something actually happened, he said he and his wife were in shock.

“You think, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ But you never think this,” Quarles said.

Since no adult was present when it happened, it’s impossible to get the entire story, Quarles said, adding that the family does not plan to sue.

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NFL Media(PHOENIX) — Arizona health officials are attempting to contain a measles outbreak that has already spread through multiple states as thousands of fans arrive in Phoenix ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Officials are already monitoring 1,000 people in Arizona who were exposed to the contagious virus after seven people were found to be infected in the state.

“This is a critical point in this outbreak,” said Arizona Department of Health Services’ Director Will Humble. “If the public health system and medical community are able to identify every single susceptible case and get them into isolation, we have a chance of stopping this outbreak here.”

Measles is one of the most contagious viruses in existence and will infect an estimated 90 percent of unvaccinated people who are exposed to the virus. The incubation period is on average 14 days, but an infected person can be contagious up to four days before they start to show symptoms.

With scores of fans expected to head to Phoenix this weekend to watch the game between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, health officials have delivered stern warnings to try and keep the disease from spreading in the state.

Anyone not vaccinated for measles is asked to stay out of public areas for 21 days. In Phoenix’s Maricopa County, the health department is asking unvaccinated children to stay home from school or day care for another three weeks in order to protect them from potential infection.

“If we miss any potential cases and some of them go to a congregate setting with numerous susceptible contacts, we could be in for a long and protracted outbreak,” said Humble on the health department website.

The current measles outbreak has infected at least 84 people in 14 states after originating in the Disneyland theme park, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While immune globulin can be given to help mitigate symptoms, there is no way for health officials to stop those exposed from developing the disease. Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose and the tell-tale red rash, according to the CDC. In severe cases it can cause pneumonia, encephalitis or swelling of the brain, and death.

This week, the health department detailed their health and public safety plans for the Super Bowl.

In addition to monitoring for dangerous pathogens and suspicious substances, the department will conduct “illness monitoring at urgent care centers, and monitoring poison control center calls related to Super Bowl events.”

The department said the enhanced surveillance will allow them to more quickly “identify health threats” and respond immediately.

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iStock/Thinkstock(HELSINKI, Finland) — In addition to physical problems that children who were born prematurely might suffer, scientists say they may encounter certain psychological problems during their teen and young adult years.

In a study of people born prematurely during the 1980s, scientists at the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, Finland, says that many of these grown preemies tend to see themselves as less attractive than other individuals.

Another roadblock to their social development, according to Dr. Tuija Mannisto, is that they also have a harder time being sexually intimate with a partner or else, delay having sexual relationships.

While these problems are not insignificant, Dr. Edward McCabe of the March of Dimes says they should also not be too alarming.

McCabe, who was not involved in the study, contends that preemies typically have more cautious personalities than people who were born full-term and that putting off sex isn’t necessarily bad.

He also maintains that there have been advancements in the treatment of preemies at intensive care units so that those born in more recent times may not have the same issues as the older generation.

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