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1.  Coping styles in substance use disorder (SUD) patients with and without co-occurring attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:159.
Background
Patients with a substance use disorder (SUD) and co-occurring attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often start using substances in an attempt to cope with the stress related to their ADHD or ASD. To improve treatment for these patient groups, it is important to identify and compare the various coping styles between SUD patients with and without ADHD or ASD and with subjects from a general population sample.
Methods
Cross-sectional study using the Utrecht Coping List (UCL) in 50 SUD patients, 41 SUD + ADHD patients, 31 SUD + ASD patients and 1,200 railway employees.
Results
Compared with the reference group, all three SUD groups showed a significant higher mean on the Palliative reaction, Avoidance, and Passive reaction subscales of the UCL. The scores for all UCL subscales of the SUD and the SUD + ADHD groups were very similar. However, the SUD + ASD group scored higher on Passive reaction and lower on Reassuring thoughts than the SUD and the SUD + ADHD groups and lower on Expression of emotions subscale in comparison with the SUD + ADHD group.
Conclusions
Regardless of the presence of a co-occurring disorder, SUD patients reported more palliative, avoidant and passive coping when confronted than people in the general population. In addition, SUD patients with co-occurring ASD were different from other SUD patients in their coping and professionals should take this into account when working on more adaptive coping strategies with these patients.
doi:10.1186/s12888-015-0530-x
PMCID: PMC4501102  PMID: 26169586
Coping styles; Substance Use Disorder; Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; Autism Spectrum Disorder
2.  Burden and Expressed Emotion of Caregivers in Cases of Adult Substance Use Disorder with and Without Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder or Autism Spectrum Disorder 
Objective
To identify and compare caregiver burden and expressed emotion (EE) in adult substance use disorder (SUD) patients with and without co-occurring attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). To examine possible differences in correlations between caregiver burden and EE across patient groups.
Design and Methods
Cross-sectional study with measures of perceived burden (Involvement Evaluation Questionnaire: IEQ), subjective stress (General Health Questionnaire: GHQ) and perceptions of expressed emotion (Level of Expressed Emotion: LEE) in informal caregivers for patients with SUD, SUD+ADHD or SUD+ASD.
Findings
No differences in caregiver burden or expressed emotion when caregivers for patients with SUD were compared to caregivers for patients with SUD+ADHD. A moderate but non-significant difference for caregivers of patients with SUD versus SUD+ASD, which disappeared when the number of contact hours between patient and caregiver for the SUD only group was controlled for. The IEQ sum scores also substantially correlated with the LEE sum scores.
Conclusion
Informal caregivers for patients with only SUD show higher levels of burden and EE than informal caregivers for patients with SUD and a co-occurring ASD. This difference was largely explained by the higher number of contact hours between patient and caregiver in the SUD only group.
doi:10.1007/s11469-015-9567-9
PMCID: PMC4710653  PMID: 26798327
Burden; Expressed emotions; Substance use disorder; Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder; Autism spectrum disorder
3.  Everyday life consequences of substance use in adult patients with a substance use disorder (SUD) and co-occurring attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD): a patient’s perspective 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:264.
Background
Although the prevalence of substance use disorder (SUD) with co-occurring attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is relatively high in adult patients, there is hardly any knowledge about these dual diagnoses. A recent study reported met- and unmet needs for several life domains regarding these patient groups. To improve treatment, it is necessary to identify the everyday life consequences of SUD and co-occurring ADHD or ASD in adult patients.
Methods
Qualitative study using in-depth interviews. 11 SUD + ADHD and 12 SUD + ASD patients participated in the study. The interview transcripts were coded and analysed according to the seven steps for descriptive phenomenology by Colaizzi.
Results
Both patients with ADHD and patients with ASD can get caught in a jumble of thoughts and emotions which can often lead to agitation and impulsivity in the case of ADHD or passivity and melancholia in the case of ASD with co-occurring SUD in both cases. Initially substance use ameliorates the symptoms and related problems, but both patient groups can later experience even greater problems: difficulties with the structuring of daily life due to a lack of planning (SUD + ADHD) or due to a lack of initiative (SUD + ASD). Both groups indicate that structure helps them function better. They also recognize that substance use disorganizes their lives and that an absence of structure contributes to substance use in what becomes a vicious circle which needs to be broken for effective treatment and care.
Conclusions
This study provides insight into the daily life consequences of SUD with a co-occurring ADHD or ASD. Substance use is reported to solve some ADHD- or ASD-related problems in the short run but have negative consequences in the long run (i.e., contribute to already impaired cognitive functioning). Insight is provided into what clinicians can do to break this vicious circle and thus help ADHD patients to refrain from action and ASD patients to take action.
doi:10.1186/s12888-014-0264-1
PMCID: PMC4173065  PMID: 25234344
Substance use disorders; Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; Autism spectrum disorder; Everyday life consequences; Adults
4.  Motor function and perception in children with neuropsychiatric and conduct problems: results from a population based twin study 
Background
Children with early symptomatic psychiatric disorders such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have been found to have high rates of motor and/or perception difficulties. However, there have been few large-scale studies reporting on the association between Conduct Disorder (CD) and motor/perception functions. The aim of the present study was to investigate how motor function and perception relate to measures of ADHD, ASD, and CD.
Methods
Parents of 16,994 Swedish twins (ages nine and twelve years) were interviewed using the Autism-Tics, ADHD and other Comorbidities inventory (A-TAC), which has been validated as a screening instrument for early onset child psychiatric disorders and symptoms. Associations between categorical variables of scoring above previously validated cut-off values for diagnosing ADHD, ASD, and CD on the one hand and motor and/or perception problems on the other hand were analysed using cross-tabulations, and the Fisher exact test. Associations between the continuous scores for ADHD, ASD, CD, and the subdomains Concentration/Attention, Impulsiveness/Activity, Flexibility, Social Interaction and Language, and the categorical factors age and gender, on the one hand, and the dependent dichotomic variables Motor control and Perception problems, on the other hand, were analysed using binary logistic regression in general estimated equation models.
Results
Male gender was associated with increased risk of Motor control and/or Perception problems. Children scoring above the cut-off for ADHD, ASD, and/or CD, but not those who were ‘CD positive’ but ‘ADHD/ASD negative’, had more Motor control and/or Perception problems, compared with children who were screen-negative for all three diagnoses. In the multivariable model, CD and Impulsiveness/Activity had no positive associations with Motor control and/or Perception problems.
Conclusions
CD symptoms or problems with Impulsiveness/Activity were associated with Motor control or Perception problems only in the presence of ASD symptoms and/or symptoms of inattention. Our results indicate that children with CD but without ASD or inattention do not show a deviant development of motor and perceptual functions. Therefore, all children with CD should be examined concerning motor control and perception. If problems are present, a suspicion of ADHD and/or ASD should be raised.
doi:10.1186/1866-1955-6-11
PMCID: PMC4035850  PMID: 24872861
Conduct Disorder; Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; Autism Spectrum Disorder; Motor control; Perception; A-TAC
5.  Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Autistic Traits, and Substance Use Among Missouri Adolescents 
Background
Although existing literature demonstrates the association of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with both substance use (SU) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), few studies have examined rates of SU among adolescents with elevated ASD symptoms, with or without comorbid ADHD. Clinic-based studies suggest a possible protective effect of ASD against SU, but this has not been confirmed in population-based studies.
Objective
We examined alcohol, tobacco, and drug use in adolescents with either ADHD, elevated autistic traits, or both as compared with controls.
Methods
Subjects (N = 2937) who were 13 to 17 years old from a Missouri population-based large sibship sample were assessed for ADHD, autistic traits, and SU with the use of parent-report questionnaires. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition ADHD symptom criterion (Criterion A) was applied to the Strengths and Weaknesses of ADHD-symptoms and Normal-behavior (SWAN) questionnaire item responses to determine ADHD diagnosis. The presence of elevated autistic traits was defined as a raw Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) score of 62 (95th percentile for this sample) or higher. SU was determined with the use of three items from the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Statistical methods used included logistic and fractional polynomial regression.
Results
As compared with controls, adolescents with ADHD were at increased risk for alcohol, tobacco, and drug use whether or not they had elevated autistic traits. Adolescents with elevated autistic traits were at significantly increased risk for drug use other than alcohol and tobacco, even if they did not have ADHD. Among those with raw SRS scores in the range of about 20 (normal) to 80 (consistent with mild to moderate ASD), adolescents with ADHD had higher levels of SU than control individuals with similar levels of autistic traits. However, strong conclusions cannot be drawn regarding individuals with very low or very high SRS scores as a result of sparse data.
Conclusions
This study confirms previous research showing an increased risk of SU among adolescents with ADHD. It also provides new information indicating that adolescents with high levels of autistic traits are at elevated risk for alcohol and tobacco use if they have comorbid ADHD; in addition, they may be at high risk for other drug use, even if they do not have comorbid ADHD. Therefore, it should not be assumed that adolescents with mild to moderate ASD have a low risk of SU, especially if ADHD is also present.
PMCID: PMC4489415  PMID: 26146608
ADHD; autism; substance use; tobacco; alcohol
6.  Neurodevelopmental problems and extremes in BMI 
PeerJ  2015;3:e1024.
Background. Over the last few decades, an increasing number of studies have suggested a connection between neurodevelopmental problems (NDPs) and body mass index (BMI). Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) both seem to carry an increased risk for developing extreme BMI. However, the results are inconsistent, and there have been only a few studies of the general population of children.
Aims. We had three aims with the present study: (1) to define the prevalence of extreme (low or high) BMI in the group of children with ADHD and/or ASDs compared to the group of children without these NDPs; (2) to analyze whether extreme BMI is associated with the subdomains within the diagnostic categories of ADHD or ASD; and (3) to investigate the contribution of genetic and environmental factors to BMI in boys and girls at ages 9 and 12.
Method. Parents of 9- or 12-year-old twins (n = 12,496) were interviewed using the Autism—Tics, ADHD and other Comorbidities (A-TAC) inventory as part of the Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden (CATSS). Univariate and multivariate generalized estimated equation models were used to analyze associations between extremes in BMI and NDPs.
Results. ADHD screen-positive cases followed BMI distributions similar to those of children without ADHD or ASD. Significant association was found between ADHD and BMI only among 12-year-old girls, where the inattention subdomain of ADHD was significantly associated with the high extreme BMI. ASD scores were associated with both the low and the high extremes of BMI. Compared to children without ADHD or ASD, the prevalence of ASD screen-positive cases was three times greater in the high extreme BMI group and double as much in the low extreme BMI group. Stereotyped and repetitive behaviors were significantly associated with high extreme BMIs.
Conclusion. Children with ASD, with or without coexisting ADHD, are more prone to have low or high extreme BMIs than children without ADHD or ASD.
doi:10.7717/peerj.1024
PMCID: PMC4511820  PMID: 26207189
ADHD; Autism spectrum disorder (ASD); BMI; Twins
7.  Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders with co-existing substance use disorder is characterized by early antisocial behaviour and poor cognitive skills 
BMC Psychiatry  2013;13:336.
Background
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is associated with an increased risk of co-existing substance abuse. The Swedish legislation on compulsory healthcare can be applied to persons with severe substance abuse who can be treated involuntarily during a period of six months. This context enables a reliable clinical assessment of ADHD in individuals with severe substance use disorder (SUD).
Methods
In the context of compulsory care for individuals with severe SUD, male patients were assessed for ADHD, co-morbid psychiatric symptoms, psychosocial background, treatment history, and cognition. The data from the ADHD/SUD group (n = 60) was compared with data from (1) a group of individuals with severe substance abuse without known ADHD (SUD group, n = 120), as well as (2) a group with ADHD from an outpatient psychiatric clinic (ADHD/Psych group, n = 107).
Results
Compared to the general SUD group in compulsory care, the ADHD/SUD group had already been significantly more often in compulsory care during childhood or adolescence, as well as imprisoned more often as adults. The most common preferred abused substance in the ADHD/SUD group was stimulant drugs, while alcohol and benzodiazepine abuse was more usual in the general SUD group. Compared to the ADHD/Psych group, the ADHD/SUD group reported more ADHD symptoms during childhood and performed poorer on all tests of general intellectual ability and executive functions.
Conclusions
The clinical characteristics of the ADHD/SUD group differed from those of both the SUD group and the ADHD/Psych group in several respects, indicating that ADHD in combination with SUD is a particularly disabling condition. The combination of severe substance abuse, poor general cognitive ability, severe psychosocial problems, including indications of antisocial behaviour, and other co-existing psychiatric conditions should be considered in treatment planning for adults with ADHD and SUD.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-336
PMCID: PMC3878757  PMID: 24330331
ADHD; SUD; Co-morbidity; Compulsory care; Adults; Cognition
8.  How ‘core’ are motor timing difficulties in ADHD? A latent class comparison of pure and comorbid ADHD classes 
Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have motor timing difficulties. This study examined whether affected motor timing accuracy and variability are specific for ADHD, or that comorbidity with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) contributes to these motor timing difficulties. An 80-trial motor timing task measuring accuracy (μ), variability (σ) and infrequent long response times (τ) in estimating a 1-s interval was administered to 283 children and adolescents (8–17 years) from both a clinic and population based sample. They were divided into four latent classes based on the SCQ and CPRS-R:L data. These classes were: without behavioral problems ‘Normal-class’ (n = 154), with only ADHD symptoms ‘ADHD-class’ (n = 49), and two classes with both ASD and ADHD symptoms; ADHD(+ASD)-class (n = 39) and ASD(+ADHD)-class (n = 41). The pure ADHD-class did not deviate from the Normal class on any of the motor timing measures (mean RTs 916 and 925 ms, respectively). The comorbid ADHD(+ASD) and ASD(+ADHD) classes were significantly less accurate (more time underestimations) compared to the Normal class (mean RTs 847 and 870 ms, respectively). Variability in motor timing was reduced in the younger children in the ADHD(+ASD) class, which may reflect a tendency to rush the tedious task. Only patients with more severe behavioral symptoms show motor timing deficiencies. This cannot merely be explained by high ADHD severity with ASD playing no role, as ADHD symptom severity in the pure ADHD-class and the ASD(+ADHD) class was highly similar, with the former class showing no motor timing deficits.
doi:10.1007/s00787-015-0734-0
PMCID: PMC4820471  PMID: 26154019
ADHD; ASD; Latent class analyses (LCA); Motor timing; Variability
9.  Inhibition, flexibility, working memory and planning in autism spectrum disorders with and without comorbid ADHD-symptoms 
Background
Recent studies have not paid a great deal of attention to comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in autistic children even though it is well known that almost half of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) suffer from hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity. The goal of this study was to evaluate and compare executive functioning (EF) profiles in children with ADHD and in children with ASD with and without comorbid ADHD.
Methods
Children aged 6 to 18 years old with ADHD (n = 20) or ASD (High-Functioning autism or Asperger syndrome) with (n = 20) and without (n = 20) comorbid ADHD and a typically developing group (n = 20) were compared on a battery of EF tasks comprising inhibition, flexibility, working memory and planning tasks. A MANOVA, effect sizes as well as correlations between ADHD-symptomatology and EF performance were calculated. Age- and IQ-corrected z scores were used.
Results
There was a significant effect for the factor group (F = 1.55; dF = 42; p = .02). Post-hoc analysis revealed significant differences between the ADHD and the TD group on the inhibition task for false alarms (p = .01) and between the ADHD group, the ASD+ group (p = .03), the ASD- group (p = .02) and the TD group (p = .01) for omissions. Effect sizes showed clear deficits of ADHD children in inhibition and working memory tasks. Participants with ASD were impaired in planning and flexibility abilities. The ASD+ group showed compared to the ASD- group more problems in inhibitory performance but not in the working memory task.
Conclusion
Our findings replicate previous results reporting impairment of ADHD children in inhibition and working memory tasks and of ASD children in planning and flexibility abilities. The ASD + group showed similarities to the ADHD group with regard to inhibitory but not to working memory deficits. Nevertheless the heterogeneity of these and previous results shows that EF assessment is not useful for differential diagnosis between ADHD and ASD. It might be useful for evaluating strengths and weaknesses in individual children.
doi:10.1186/1753-2000-2-4
PMCID: PMC2276205  PMID: 18237439
10.  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) among longer-term prison inmates is a prevalent, persistent and disabling disorder 
BMC Psychiatry  2010;10:112.
Background
ADHD is a common and disabling disorder, with an increased risk for coexisting disorders, substance abuse and delinquency. In the present study, we aimed at exploring ADHD and criminality. We estimated the prevalence of ADHD among longer-term prison inmates, described symptoms and cognitive functioning, and compared findings with ADHD among psychiatric outpatients and healthy controls.
Methods
At Norrtälje Prison, we approached 315 male inmates for screening of childhood ADHD by the Wender Utah Rating Scale (WURS-25) and for present ADHD by the Adult ADHD Self-Report Screener (ASRS-Screener). The response rate was 62%. Further, we assessed 34 inmates for ADHD and coexisting disorders. Finally, we compared findings with 20 adult males with ADHD, assessed at a psychiatric outpatient clinic and 18 healthy controls.
Results
The estimated prevalence of adult ADHD among longer-term inmates was 40%. Only 2 out of 30 prison inmates confirmed with ADHD had received a diagnosis of ADHD during childhood, despite most needed health services and educational support. All subjects reported lifetime substance use disorder (SUD) where amphetamine was the most common drug. Mood and anxiety disorders were present among half of subjects; autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among one fourth and psychopathy among one tenth. Personality disorders were common; almost all inmates presented conduct disorder (CD) before antisocial personality disorder (APD). Prison inmates reported more ADHD symptoms during both childhood and adulthood, compared with ADHD psychiatric outpatients. Further, analysis of executive functions after controlling for IQ showed both ADHD groups performed poorer than controls on working memory tests. Besides, on a continuous performance test, the ADHD prison group displayed poorer results compared with both other groups.
Conclusions
This study suggested ADHD to be present among 40% of adult male longer-term prison inmates. Further, ADHD and coexisting disorders, such as SUD, ASD, personality disorders, mood- and anxiety disorders, severely affected prison inmates with ADHD. Besides, inmates showed poorer executive functions also when controlling for estimated IQ compared with ADHD among psychiatric outpatients and controls. Our findings imply the need for considering these severities when designing treatment programmes for prison inmates with ADHD.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-10-112
PMCID: PMC3016316  PMID: 21176203
11.  Shared and Distinct Intrinsic Functional Network Centrality in Autism and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder 
Biological psychiatry  2013;74(8):623-632.
Background
Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) often exhibit symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Across both disorders, observations of distributed functional abnormalities suggest aberrant large-scale brain network connectivity. Yet, common and distinct network correlates of ASD and ADHD remain unidentified. Here, we aimed to examine patterns of dysconnection in school-age children with ASD, ADHD and typically developing children (TDC) who completed a resting state fMRI (R-fMRI) scan.
Methods
We measured voxel-wise network centrality, functional connectivity metrics indexing local (degree centrality; DC) and global (eigenvector centrality; EC) functional relationships across the entire brain connectome, in R-fMRI data from 56 children with ASD, 45 children with ADHD and 50 TDC. A one-way ANCOVA, with group as fixed factor (whole-brain corrected), was followed by post-hoc pair-wise comparisons.
Results
Cortical and subcortical areas exhibited centrality abnormalities; some common to both ADHD and ASD, such as in precuneus. Others were disorder-specific and included ADHD-related increases in DC in right striatum/pallidum, in contrast with ASD-related increases in bilateral temporolimbic areas. Secondary analyses differentiating children with ASD into those with or without ADHD-like comorbidity (ASD+ and ASD−, respectively) revealed that the ASD+ group shared ADHD-specific abnormalities in basal ganglia. By contrast, centrality increases in temporolimbic areas characterized children with ASD regardless of ADHD-like comorbidity. At the cluster level eignevector centrality group patterns were similar to DC.
Conclusions
ADHD and ASD are neurodevelopmental disorders with distinct and overlapping clinical presentations. This work provides evidence for both shared and distinct underlying mechanisms at the large-scale network level.
doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.02.011
PMCID: PMC4508007  PMID: 23541632
Autism; ADHD; Network Centrality; Functional Connectivity; resting state fMRI; Caudate; amygdala; precuneus
12.  Broader Autism Phenotype in Iranian Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders vs. Normal Children 
Iranian Journal of Psychiatry  2012;7(4):157-163.
Objective
The aim of the present study was to compare the broader autism phenotype in Iranian parents of children with autism spectrum disorders and parents of typically developing children.
Method
Parents of children with ASD and parents of typically developing children were asked to complete the Persian version of the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ). In the ASD group, families included 204 parents (96 fathers and 108 mothers) of children diagnosed as having autism (Autistic Disorder, or AD) (n=124), Asperger Syndrome (AS) or High Functioning Autism (HFA) (n=48) and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) (n=32) by psychiatrists based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-4thedition (DSM-IV-TR) criteria. In the control group, 210 (108 fathers and 102 mothers) parents of typically developing children. Parents of typically developing children were selected from four primary schools. Based on family reports, their children did not have any psychiatric problems. Total AQ score and each of the 5 subscales were analyzed using two-way ANOVAs with sex and group as factors.
Results
The mean age of ASD fathers was 40.6 years (SD=5.96; range 31-54), and of ASD mothers was 34.7 years (SD=4.55; range 28-45). The mean age of control fathers was 37 years (SD=4.6; range 29-45) and of control mothers was 34.11 years (SD=4.86; range 28-45). Group differences were found in age (p ‹ 0/001). On total AQ, a main effect for group and sex was found. ASD parents scored higher than controls (F(1,410)=77.876, P ‹ 0/001) and males scored higher than females (F(1,410)=23.324, P ‹ 0/001). Also, Group by Sex interaction was significant (F(1,410)=4.986, P ‹ 0/05). Results of MANOVA analysis displayed significant differences between ASD's subgroups on total AQ and subscales scores (F (15, 1121)=13.924, p < 0.0005; Wilk's Lambda= 0.624, partial =0.145). Pairwise comparisons between ASD's subgroups and Normal group showed that mean scores for the Asperger group are significantly more than other groups in total AQ, attention switching and communication subscales (p < 0.05). The frequencies of BAP (X^2=52.721 (DF=1), P ‹ 0/001), MAP (X^2=17.133 (DF=1), P ‹ 0/001) and NAP (X^2=12.722 (DF=1), P ‹ 0/001) in ASD parents were significantly more than control parents. The frequencies of Broader Autism Phenotype (BAP) (X^2=3.842 (DF=1), P›0/05) and Medium Autism phenotype (MAP) (X^2=0.060 (DF=1), P›0/05) did not significantly differ in ASD fathers and mothers, but the proportion of fathers in Narrow Autism Phenotype(NAP) range was more than mothers (X2=14.344, P ‹ 0/001).
Conclusion
Results of the present study revealed that parents of children with ASD scored significantly higher than control parents on total AQ and its subscales and the rates of BAP, MAP and NAP were higher in ASD parents than in controls. In addition, in ASD's subgroups, the parents of Asperger children scored significantly more than other subgroups (Autism and PDD-nos) and the normal group on total AQ and some subscales.
PMCID: PMC3570573  PMID: 23408558
Autistic disorder; Child; Iran; Parents
13.  Prescription Drug Use and Polypharmacy Among Medicaid-Enrolled Adults with Autism: A Retrospective Cross-Sectional Analysis 
Drugs - Real World Outcomes  2016;3(4):409-425.
Background
A lack of gold standard treatment for autism spectrum disorders (ASD), no clear ASD management guidelines, and lack of evidence-based pharmacological interventions other than aripiprazole and risperidone elevate the risk of off-label prescribing and adverse effects among individuals with ASD, more so among adults.
Objective
The aim of this study was to identify and compare the types of prescription drug use, rates of polypharmacy, and characteristics associated with polypharmacy among adults with and without ASD in a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of a three-state Medicaid Analytic eXtract database (2000–2008).
Methods
Adults aged 22–64 years with ASD (ICD9-CM code: 299.xx) were propensity score-matched to ‘no ASD’ controls by age, sex, and race. General polypharmacy (≥6 unique classes of prescription drugs in a year) and psychotropic polypharmacy (≥3 unique prescription drug classes of psychotropic medications within a 90-day period) were the main study outcomes. Chi-square tests for rates, t tests for mean number of claims, and multivariate logistic regressions for likelihood of prescription drug use and polypharmacy were run.
Results
Annually, almost 75% of adults with ASD had >20 prescription drug claims compared with 33% of adults without ASD. Around 85% of adults with ASD used at least one psychotropic drug class compared with 42% of adults without ASD. Highly common psychotropics were antipsychotics (66%ASD vs 20%noASD), anticonvulsants (59%ASD vs 20%noASD), and anxiolytics/hypnotics/sedatives (21%ASD vs 11%noASD). Other than psychotropics, many adults with ASD used medical prescription drugs such as antimicrobials (47%), dermatologic agents (48%), respiratory agents (38%), gastrointestinal agents (31%), alternative medications (25%), antiparkinsonian agents (22.6%), antihyperlipidemics/statins (7.3%), and immunologics (2.0%). Rates of general (48%ASD vs 32%noASD) and psychotropic polypharmacy (19%ASD vs 6%noASD) were significantly higher in the ASD group.
Conclusion
Prescription drug use and polypharmacy rates among adults with ASD are substantially higher than those in an age-, sex-, and race-matched cohort of adults without ASD. Adults with ASD frequently use therapeutic treatments other than psychotropics. Healthcare providers, who usually report low confidence in treating patients with ASD, should play an active role in constant monitoring of prescription drug use patterns and patient response to interventions. Prescribers and caregivers are encouraged to make decisions after weighing the benefits and risks associated with a pharmacological treatment. Further investigations into the common use of any alternative treatments that can affect a patient’s response to core treatments should also be conducted.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s40801-016-0096-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s40801-016-0096-z
PMCID: PMC5127876  PMID: 27873285
14.  Prescription Drug Use and Polypharmacy Among Medicaid-Enrolled Adults with Autism: A Retrospective Cross-Sectional Analysis 
Drugs - Real World Outcomes  2016;3(4):409-425.
Background
A lack of gold standard treatment for autism spectrum disorders (ASD), no clear ASD management guidelines, and lack of evidence-based pharmacological interventions other than aripiprazole and risperidone elevate the risk of off-label prescribing and adverse effects among individuals with ASD, more so among adults.
Objective
The aim of this study was to identify and compare the types of prescription drug use, rates of polypharmacy, and characteristics associated with polypharmacy among adults with and without ASD in a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of a three-state Medicaid Analytic eXtract database (2000–2008).
Methods
Adults aged 22–64 years with ASD (ICD9-CM code: 299.xx) were propensity score-matched to ‘no ASD’ controls by age, sex, and race. General polypharmacy (≥6 unique classes of prescription drugs in a year) and psychotropic polypharmacy (≥3 unique prescription drug classes of psychotropic medications within a 90-day period) were the main study outcomes. Chi-square tests for rates, t tests for mean number of claims, and multivariate logistic regressions for likelihood of prescription drug use and polypharmacy were run.
Results
Annually, almost 75% of adults with ASD had >20 prescription drug claims compared with 33% of adults without ASD. Around 85% of adults with ASD used at least one psychotropic drug class compared with 42% of adults without ASD. Highly common psychotropics were antipsychotics (66%ASD vs 20%noASD), anticonvulsants (59%ASD vs 20%noASD), and anxiolytics/hypnotics/sedatives (21%ASD vs 11%noASD). Other than psychotropics, many adults with ASD used medical prescription drugs such as antimicrobials (47%), dermatologic agents (48%), respiratory agents (38%), gastrointestinal agents (31%), alternative medications (25%), antiparkinsonian agents (22.6%), antihyperlipidemics/statins (7.3%), and immunologics (2.0%). Rates of general (48%ASD vs 32%noASD) and psychotropic polypharmacy (19%ASD vs 6%noASD) were significantly higher in the ASD group.
Conclusion
Prescription drug use and polypharmacy rates among adults with ASD are substantially higher than those in an age-, sex-, and race-matched cohort of adults without ASD. Adults with ASD frequently use therapeutic treatments other than psychotropics. Healthcare providers, who usually report low confidence in treating patients with ASD, should play an active role in constant monitoring of prescription drug use patterns and patient response to interventions. Prescribers and caregivers are encouraged to make decisions after weighing the benefits and risks associated with a pharmacological treatment. Further investigations into the common use of any alternative treatments that can affect a patient’s response to core treatments should also be conducted.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s40801-016-0096-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s40801-016-0096-z
PMCID: PMC5127876  PMID: 27873285
15.  Idiom Comprehension Deficits in High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder Using a Korean Autism Social Language Task 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2015;56(6):1613-1618.
Purpose
High-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD) involves pragmatic impairment of language skills. Among numerous tasks for assessing pragmatic linguistic skills, idioms are important to evaluating high-functioning ASD. Nevertheless, no assessment tool has been developed with specific consideration of Korean culture. Therefore, we designed the Korean Autism Social Language Task (KASLAT) to test idiom comprehension in ASD. The aim of the current study was to introduce this novel psychological tool and evaluate idiom comprehension deficits in high-functioning ASD.
Materials and Methods
The participants included 42 children, ages 6-11 years, who visited our child psychiatric clinic between April 2014 and May 2015. The ASD group comprised 16 children; the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) group consisted of 16 children. An additional 10 normal control children who had not been diagnosed with either disorder participated in this study. Idiom comprehension ability was assessed in these three groups using the KASLAT.
Results
Both ASD and ADHD groups had significantly lower scores on the matched and mismatched tasks, compared to the normal control children (matched tasks mean score: ASD 11.56, ADHD 11.56, normal control 14.30; mismatched tasks mean score: ASD 6.50, ADHD 4.31, normal control 11.30). However, no significant differences were found in scores of KASLAT between the ADHD and ASD groups.
Conclusion
These findings suggest that children with ASD exhibit greater impairment in idiom comprehension, compared to normal control children. The KASLAT may be useful in evaluating idiom comprehension ability.
doi:10.3349/ymj.2015.56.6.1613
PMCID: PMC4630050  PMID: 26446644
High functioning autism spectrum disorder; comprehension of idiom; Korean Autism Social Language Task
16.  Investigating the efficacy of integrated cognitive behavioral therapy for adult treatment seeking substance use disorder patients with comorbid ADHD: study protocol of a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Psychiatry  2013;13:132.
Background
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) frequently co-occurs with substance use disorders (SUD). The combination of ADHD and SUD is associated with a negative prognosis of both SUD and ADHD. Pharmacological treatments of comorbid ADHD in adult patients with SUD have not been very successful. Recent studies show positive effects of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in ADHD patients without SUD, but CBT has not been studied in ADHD patients with comorbid SUD.
Methods/design
This paper presents the protocol of a randomized controlled trial to test the efficacy of an integrated CBT protocol aimed at reducing SUD as well as ADHD symptoms in SUD patients with a comorbid diagnosis of ADHD. The experimental group receives 15 CBT sessions directed at symptom reduction of SUD as well as ADHD. The control group receives treatment as usual, i.e. 10 CBT sessions directed at symptom reduction of SUD only. The primary outcome is the level of self-reported ADHD symptoms. Secondary outcomes include measures of substance use, depression and anxiety, quality of life, health care consumption and neuropsychological functions.
Discussion
This is the first randomized controlled trial to test the efficacy of an integrated CBT protocol for adult SUD patients with a comorbid diagnosis of ADHD. The rationale for the trial, the design, and the strengths and limitations of the study are discussed.
Trial registration
This trial is registered in http://www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01431235.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-132
PMCID: PMC3659028  PMID: 23663651
ADHD; SUD; Cognitive behavioral therapy; Adult; Integrated treatment
17.  Brain Volumetric Correlates of Autism Spectrum Disorder Symptoms in Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e101130.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms frequently occur in subjects with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While there is evidence that both ADHD and ASD have differential structural correlates, no study to date has investigated these structural correlates within a framework that robustly accounts for the phenotypic overlap between the two disorders. The presence of ASD symptoms was measured by the parent-reported Children’s Social and Behavioural Questionnaire (CSBQ) in ADHD subjects (n = 180), their unaffected siblings (n = 118) and healthy controls (n = 146). ADHD symptoms were assessed by a structured interview (K-SADS-PL) and the Conners’ ADHD questionnaires. Whole brain T1-weighted MPRAGE images were acquired and the structural MRI correlates of ASD symptom scores were analysed by modelling ASD symptom scores against white matter (WM) and grey matter (GM) volumes using mixed effects models which controlled for ADHD symptom levels. ASD symptoms were significantly elevated in ADHD subjects relative to both controls and unaffected siblings. ASD scores were predicted by the interaction between WM and GM volumes. Increasing ASD score was associated with greater GM volume. Equivocal results from previous structural studies in ADHD and ASD may be due to the fact that comorbidity has not been taken into account in studies to date. The current findings stress the need to account for issues of ASD comorbidity in ADHD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101130
PMCID: PMC4076257  PMID: 24979066
18.  Effect of co-twin gender on neurodevelopmental symptoms: a twin register study 
Molecular Autism  2016;7:8.
Background
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are neurodevelopmental disorders thought to have both genetic and environmental causes. It has been hypothesized that exposure to elevated levels of prenatal testosterone is associated with elevated traits of ASD and ADHD. Assuming that testosterone levels from a dizygotic male twin fetus may lead to enhanced testosterone exposure of its co-twins, we aimed to test the prenatal testosterone hypothesis by comparing same-sex with opposite-sex dizygotic twins with respect to neurodevelopmental symptoms.
Methods
Neuropsychiatric traits were assessed in a population-based twin cohort from the Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden (CATSS). Parental interviews were conducted for 16,312 dizygotic twins, 9 and 12 years old, with the Autism—Tics, ADHD, and other Comorbidities inventory (A-TAC).
Results
Girls with a female co-twin had an increased risk of reaching the cut-off score for ADHD compared with girls with a male co-twin. Both boys and girls with a female co-twin displayed a larger number of traits related to attention deficit and repetitive and stereotyped behaviors than those with a male twin. In girls, this also extended to social interaction and the combined measures for ASD and ADHD, however, with small effect sizes.
Conclusions
Our results are reverse to what would have been expected from the prenatal testosterone hypothesis but consistent with a previous study of ASD and ADHD traits in dizygotic twins. The seemingly protective effect for girls of having a twin brother may be an effect of parent report bias, but may also be an unexpected effect of sharing the intrauterine environment with a male co-twin.
doi:10.1186/s13229-016-0074-z
PMCID: PMC4719693  PMID: 26793297
Twin study; Autistic disorder; Asperger syndrome; Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders; Symptom assessment
19.  The International ADHD in Substance Use Disorders Prevalence (IASP) study: background, methods and study population 
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is an increasingly recognized comorbid condition in subjects with substance use disorders (SUDs).
This paper describes the methods and study population of the International ADHD in Substance Use Disorders Prevalence (IASP) study. Objectives of the IASP are to determine the prevalence of ADHD in adult treatment seeking patients with SUD in different countries and SUD populations, determine the reliability and validity of the Adult ADHD Self-report Scale V 1.1 (ASRS) as ADHD screening instrument in SUD populations, investigate the comorbidity profile of SUD patients with and without ADHD, compare risk factors and protective factors in SUD patients with and without a comorbid diagnosis of ADHD, and increase our knowledge about the relationship between ADHD and the onset and course of SUD.
In this cross-sectional, multi-centre two stage study, subjects were screened for ADHD with the ASRS, diagnosed with the Conner’s Adult ADHD Diagnostic Interview for DSM-IV (CAADID), and evaluated for SUD, major depression, bipolar disorder, anti social personality disorder and borderline personality disorder.
Three thousand five hundred and fifty-eight subjects from 10 countries were included. Of these 40.9% screened positive for ADHD.
This is the largest international study on this population evaluating ADHD and comorbid disorders. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
doi:10.1002/mpr.1397
PMCID: PMC4085151  PMID: 24022983
ADHD; substance use disorders; prevalence; attention/deficit hyperactivity disorder
20.  Overlap Between Autism Spectrum Disorders and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Searching for Distinctive/Common Clinical Features 
Autism Research  2015;8(3):328-337.
Recent studies support several overlapping traits between autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), assuming the existence of a combined phenotype. The aim of our study was to evaluate the common or distinctive clinical features between ASD and ADHD in order to identify possible different phenotypes that could have a clinical value. We enrolled 181 subjects divided into four diagnostic groups: ADHD group, ASD group, ASD+ADHD group (that met diagnostic criteria for both ASD and ADHD), and control group. Intelligent quotient (IQ), emotional and behavior problems, ADHD symptoms, ASD symptoms, and adaptive behaviors were investigated through the following test: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence or Leiter International Performances Scale Revised, Child Behavior Checklist, Conners' Rating Scales-Revised, SNAP-IV Rating Scale, the Social Communication Questionnaire, Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales. The ASD+ADHD group differs from ADHD or ASD in some domains such as lower IQ mean level and a higher autistic symptoms severity. However, the ASD+ADHD group shares inattention and hyperactivity deficit and some emotional and behavior problems with the ADHD group, while it shares adaptive behavior impairment with ASD group. These findings provide a new understanding of clinical manifestation of ASD+ADHD phenotype, they may also inform a novel treatment target. Autism Res 2015, 8: 328–337. © 2015 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
doi:10.1002/aur.1449
PMCID: PMC4654237  PMID: 25604000
autism spectrum disorders; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; overlapping; intelligent quotient; emotional and behavior problems; ADHD symptoms; ASD symptoms; adaptive behaviors
21.  Prefrontal activation during inhibitory control measured by near-infrared spectroscopy for differentiating between autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults☆ 
NeuroImage : Clinical  2013;4:53-63.
The differential diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) based solely on symptomatic and behavioral assessments can be difficult, even for experts. Thus, the development of a neuroimaging marker that differentiates ASDs from ADHD would be an important contribution to this field. We assessed the differences in prefrontal activation between adults with ASDs and ADHD using an entirely non-invasive and portable neuroimaging tool, near-infrared spectroscopy. This study included 21 drug-naïve adults with ASDs, 19 drug-naïve adults with ADHD, and 21 healthy subjects matched for age, sex, and IQ. Oxygenated hemoglobin concentration changes in the prefrontal cortex were assessed during a stop signal task and a verbal fluency task. During the stop signal task, compared to the control group, the ASDs group exhibited lower activation in a broad prefrontal area, whereas the ADHD group showed underactivation of the right premotor area, right presupplementary motor area, and bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortices. Significant differences were observed in the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex between the ASDs and ADHD groups during the stop signal task. The leave-one-out cross-validation method using mean oxygenated hemoglobin changes yielded a classification accuracy of 81.4% during inhibitory control. These results were task specific, as the brain activation pattern observed during the verbal fluency task did not differentiate the ASDs and ADHD groups significantly. This study therefore provides evidence of a difference in left ventrolateral prefrontal activation during inhibitory control between adults with ASDs and ADHD. Thus, near-infrared spectroscopy may be useful as an auxiliary tool for the differential diagnosis of such developmental disorders.
Highlights
•We examined the prefrontal function in 2 developmental disorders and HC using NIRS.•NIRS signals were assessed during a stop signal task (SST) and a verbal fluency task.•ASDs showed significantly smaller activation during SST than ADHD in left VLPFC.•NIRS is a useful biomarker for the differential diagnosis of ASDs and ADHD.
doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2013.10.002
PMCID: PMC3842411  PMID: 24298446
Autism spectrum disorders; Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; Near-infrared spectroscopy; Inhibitory control; Stop signal task
22.  Response time variability under slow and fast‐incentive conditions in children with ASD, ADHD and ASD+ADHD  
Background
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show significant behavioural and genetic overlap. Both ADHD and ASD are characterised by poor performance on a range of cognitive tasks. In particular, increased response time variability (RTV) is a promising indicator of risk for both ADHD and ASD. However, it is not clear whether different indices of RTV and changes to RTV according to task conditions are able to discriminate between the two disorders.
Methods
Children with ASD (n = 19), ADHD (n = 18), ASD + ADHD (n = 29) and typically developing controls (TDC; n = 26) performed a four‐choice RT task with slow‐baseline and fast‐incentive conditions. Performance was characterised by mean RT (MRT), standard deviation of RT (SD‐RT), coefficient of variation (CV) and ex‐Gaussian distribution measures of Mu, Sigma and Tau.
Results
In the slow‐baseline condition, categorical diagnoses and trait measures converged to indicate that children with ADHD‐only and ASD + ADHD demonstrated increased MRT, SD‐RT, CV and Tau compared to TDC and ASD‐only. Importantly, greater improvement in MRT, SD‐RT and Tau was demonstrated in ADHD and ASD + ADHD from slow‐baseline to fast‐incentive conditions compared to TDC and ASD‐only.
Conclusions
Slower and more variable RTs are markers of ADHD compared to ASD and typically developing controls during slow and less rewarding conditions. Energetic factors and rewards improve task performance to a greater extent in children with ADHD compared to children with ASD. These findings suggest that RTV can be distinguished in ASD, ADHD and ASD + ADHD based on the indices of variability used and the conditions in which they are elicited. Further work identifying neural processes underlying increased RTV is warranted, in order to elucidate disorder‐specific and disorder‐convergent aetiological pathways.
doi:10.1111/jcpp.12608
PMCID: PMC5132150  PMID: 27465225
Autism spectrum disorder; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; cognition; comorbidity; reaction time variability
23.  The “Younger-Sibling-at-Risk Design”: a Pilot Study of Adolescents with ADHD and an Older Sibling with Substance Use Disorder 
Introduction
This article introduces a “younger at-risk sibling” design to study progression from other psychopathologies to their substance use disorder (SUD) complications. The design selects not-yet-SUD adolescents with high-risk-for-SUD psychopathology only if an older sibling has SUD. This “proof of concept” pilot study examines the design’s feasibility if the younger sibling has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Method
Subjects were recruited from families at substance abuse treatment centers that had a non-SUD younger child with ADHD, from families at behavior disorder clinics that had a younger child with ADHD and SUD older child, and through general advertisements. Subjects were seen weekly for at least 3 months and monthly thereafter for 3 months. All were treated with open-label lisdexamfetamine dimesylate 30–70 mg per day. Outcomes explored were recruitment, compliance, diversion, ADHD improvement, and substance use interest.
Results
25 families were screened, 13 evaluated, and 8 began medication. ADHD Rating Scale-IV scores obtained by parent adolescent consensus improved as expected with a stimulant. Rating forms could quantify substance use interest in subjects with some drug culture exposure but encountered a floor effect in those without. The design’s complexity and implicit commentary on family dynamics complicated recruitment but may have facilitated retention.
Conclusion
Sibling pairs in which the older sibling has substance use and the younger sibling has ADHD exist. Such younger siblings can be recruited into a treatment study. The design may shed light on the pathogenesis and prevention of SUD complications from ADHD and theoretically other SUD comorbidities.
doi:10.3109/00952990.2011.569805
PMCID: PMC3154771  PMID: 21517711
comorbidity; pathogenesis; family; siblings
24.  Psychiatric comorbidity in treatment-seeking substance use disorder patients with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: results of the IASP study 
Addiction (Abingdon, England)  2013;109(2):262-272.
Aims
To determine comorbidity patterns in treatment-seeking substance use disorder (SUD) patients with and without adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with an emphasis on subgroups defined by ADHD subtype, taking into account differences related to gender and primary substance of abuse.
Design
Data were obtained from the cross-sectional International ADHD in Substance use disorder Prevalence (IASP) study.
Setting
Forty-seven centres of SUD treatment in 10 countries.
Participants
A total of 1205 treatment-seeking SUD patients.
Measurements
Structured diagnostic assessments were used for all disorders: presence of ADHD was assessed with the Conners’ Adult ADHD Diagnostic Interview for DSM-IV (CAADID), the presence of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), major depression (MD) and (hypo)manic episode (HME) was assessed with the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview-Plus (MINI Plus), and the presence of borderline personality disorder (BPD) was assessed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis II (SCID II).
Findings
The prevalence of DSM-IV adult ADHD in this SUD sample was 13.9%. ASPD [odds ratio (OR) = 2.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.8–4.2], BPD (OR = 7.0, 95% CI = 3.1–15.6 for alcohol; OR = 3.4, 95% CI = 1.8–6.4 for drugs), MD in patients with alcohol as primary substance of abuse (OR = 4.1, 95% CI = 2.1–7.8) and HME (OR = 4.3, 95% CI = 2.1–8.7) were all more prevalent in ADHD+ compared with ADHD− patients (P < 0.001). These results also indicate increased levels of BPD and MD for alcohol compared with drugs as primary substance of abuse. Comorbidity patterns differed between ADHD subtypes with increased MD in the inattentive and combined subtype (P < 0.01), increased HME and ASPD in the hyperactive/impulsive (P < 0.01) and combined subtypes (P < 0.001) and increased BPD in all subtypes (P < 0.001) compared with SUD patients without ADHD. Seventy-five per cent of ADHD patients had at least one additional comorbid disorder compared with 37% of SUD patients without ADHD.
Conclusions
Treatment-seeking substance use disorder patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are at a very high risk for additional externalizing disorders.
doi:10.1111/add.12370
PMCID: PMC4112562  PMID: 24118292
ADHD; antisocial personality disorder; bipolar disorder; borderline personality disorder; comorbidity; depression; substance use disorder
25.  The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire as a Predictor of Parent-Reported Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e80247.
The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is widely used as an international standardised instrument measuring child behaviour. The primary aim of our study was to examine whether behavioral symptoms measured by SDQ were elevated among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) relative to the rest of the population, and to examine the predictive value of the SDQ for outcome of parent-reported clinical diagnosis of ASD/ADHD. A secondary aim was to examine the extent of overlap in symptoms between children diagnosed with these two disorders, as measured by the SDQ subscales. A cross-sectional secondary analysis of data from the Millennium Birth Cohort (n = 19,519), was conducted. Data were weighted to be representative of the UK population as a whole. ADHD or ASD identified by a medical doctor or health professional were reported by parents in 2008 and this was the case definition of diagnosis; (ADHD n = 173, ASD n = 209, excluding twins and triplets). Study children's ages ranged from 6.3–8.2 years; (mean 7.2 years). Logistic regression was used to examine the association between the parent-reported clinical diagnosis of ASD/ADHD and teacher and parent-reported SDQ subscales. All SDQ subscales were strongly associated with both ASD and ADHD. There was substantial co-occurrence of behavioral difficulties between children diagnosed with ASD and those diagnosed with ADHD. After adjustment for other subscales, the final model for ADHD, contained hyperactivity/inattention and impact symptoms only and had a sensitivity of 91% and specificity of 90%; (AUC) = 0.94 (95% CI, 0.90–0.97). The final model for ASD was composed of all subscales except the ‘peer problems’ scales, indicating of the complexity of behavioural difficulties that may accompany ASD. A threshold of 0.03 produced model sensitivity and specificity of 79% and 93% respectively; AUC = 0.90 (95% CI, 0.86–0.95). The results support changes to DSM-5 removing exclusivity clauses.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080247
PMCID: PMC3848967  PMID: 24312466

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