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Autism and ADHD linked to increased mortality risk among children
Spain: In a new study conducted by Ferran Catala-Lopez and team, it was found that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been linked to a higher risk of death. ASD and ADHD are childhood disorders that can last into adulthood. Several studies have suggested that they may be linked to an increased risk of mortality, however, the findings...
Spain: In a new study conducted by Ferran Catala-Lopez and team, it was found that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been linked to a higher risk of death. ASD and ADHD are childhood disorders that can last into adulthood. Several studies have suggested that they may be linked to an increased risk of mortality, however, the findings are mixed.
This study was conducted with the objective to determine the mortality risk among people with ASD or ADHD, as well as their first-degree relatives. The findings of this study were published in the Journal of American Medical Association - Pediatrics.
For this study, a search of MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, and PsycINFO (published from inception to April 1, 2021) was augmented by a search of the retrieved articles reference lists. The researchers looked at cohort and case-control studies that compared the death rate ratios (RRs) of people with ASD or ADHD and/or their first-degree relatives to the general population or people without ASD/ADHD. At least two researchers worked separately on screening, data extraction, and quality assessment. Individual papers were meta-analyzed and heterogeneity was examined using a random-effects model (I2). The primary outcome was death from any cause in people with ASD or ADHD. Cause-specific death was a secondary outcome.
The key findings were as follow:
1. There were 27 studies in total, with a total of 642 260 people.
2. The overall mortality rate for those with ASD and ADHD was found to be greater than the general population.
3. Deaths from natural and unnatural causes were both on the rise among people with ASD.
4. Natural deaths were not significantly increased in those with ADHD, however deaths from unnatural causes were higher than expected.
In conclusion, Clinicians and health care professionals can be urged to collect data on behavioral, medical, and health outcomes related to ASD/ADHD on a regular basis, emphasizing the need of recognizing and addressing modifiable vulnerability factors and avoiding health care delays. Furthermore, it is hoped that these figures would provide insight into future studies addressing mortality-related health estimates in people with ASD or ADHD.
Catalá-López F, Hutton B, Page MJ, et al. Mortality in Persons With Autism Spectrum Disorder or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. Published online February 14, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.6401
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