To survey the adult functioning of patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and to compare the outcomes for those diagnosed in childhood with those diagnosed as adults.
Using a chart review, we evaluated the adult outcomes for 45 individuals diagnosed with ASD prior to age 18, and compared this with the functioning of 35 patients whose ASD was identified after 18 years. Concurrent mental illnesses were noted for both groups.
Adult outcome was poorest for those with the combination of ASD and Intellectual Disability (ID). The sub- group of individuals with Autism identified in adulthood whose functioning was assessed after 25 years of age had achieved more in the areas of education and independent living. All three groups had a high frequency of psychiatric co-morbidity.
While co-morbid ID and ASD generally imply a poor outcome, for children and youth with ASD and normal range IQ, adult functioning is more variable and difficult to predict. Because of delays in ongoing social development, some of these individuals may attain educational, independent living and relationship goals, but reach them a decade or more later than typical for the general population.
Autism Spectrum Disorder; adults with Autism; Asperger’s Disorder; Intellectual Disability
Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) often display symptoms from other diagnostic categories. Studies of clinical and psychosocial outcome in adult patients with ASDs without concomitant intellectual disability are few. The objective of this paper is to describe the clinical psychiatric presentation and important outcome measures of a large group of normal-intelligence adult patients with ASDs.
Autistic symptomatology according to the DSM-IV-criteria and the Gillberg & Gillberg research criteria, patterns of comorbid psychopathology and psychosocial outcome were assessed in 122 consecutively referred adults with normal intelligence ASDs. The subjects consisted of 5 patients with autistic disorder (AD), 67 with Asperger's disorder (AS) and 50 with pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD NOS). This study group consists of subjects pooled from two studies with highly similar protocols, all seen on an outpatient basis by one of three clinicians.
Core autistic symptoms were highly prevalent in all ASD subgroups. Though AD subjects had the most pervasive problems, restrictions in non-verbal communication were common across all three subgroups and, contrary to current DSM criteria, so were verbal communication deficits. Lifetime psychiatric axis I comorbidity was very common, most notably mood and anxiety disorders, but also ADHD and psychotic disorders. The frequency of these diagnoses did not differ between the ASD subgroups or between males and females. Antisocial personality disorder and substance abuse were more common in the PDD NOS group. Of all subjects, few led an independent life and very few had ever had a long-term relationship. Female subjects more often reported having been bullied at school than male subjects.
ASDs are clinical syndromes characterized by impaired social interaction and non-verbal communication in adulthood as well as in childhood. They also carry a high risk for co-existing mental health problems from a broad spectrum of disorders and for unfavourable psychosocial life circumstances. For the next revision of DSM, our findings especially stress the importance of careful examination of the exclusion criterion for adult patients with ASDs.
In the United States, a medical home model has been shown to improve the outcomes for children with special health care needs. As part of this model, primary care physicians provide comprehensive medical care that includes identification of delayed and/or atypical development in children and coordination of care with specialists. However, it is not clear if families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) rely on the medical home model for care of their child to the same extent as families of children with other special health care needs. This study aims to add to the understanding of medical care for children with ASD by examining the referral source for specialty care.
This retrospective study was accomplished by evaluating parent completed intake data for children with ASD compared to those with other neurological disorders in a single physician Pediatric Neurology Practice at a major urban medical center in Northern New Jersey. To account for referral bias, a similar comparison study was conducted using a multispecialty ASD practice at the same medical center. Parent reported "source of referral" and "reason for the referral" of 189 ASD children and 108 non-ASD neurological disordered children were analyzed.
The specialty evaluations of ASD were predominantly parent initiated. There were significantly less referrals received from primary care physicians for children with ASD compared to children with other neurodevelopmental disorders. Requirement of an insurance referral was not associated with a primary care physician prompted specialty visit.We identified different patterns of referral to our specialty clinics for children with ASD vs. children with other neurolodevelopmental disorders.
The majority of the families of children with ASD evaluated at our autism center did not indicate that a primary care physician initiated the specialty referral. This study suggests that families of children with ASD interface differently with the primary care provider than families of children with other neurological disorders.
To compare scores on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptom scales in healthy youths and youths with mood or anxiety disorders.
A total of 352 youths were recruited (107 healthy participants, 88 with an anxiety disorder, 32 with major depressive disorder, 62 with bipolar disorder, and 63 with a mood disorder characterized by severe nonepisodic irritability). Participants received structured psychiatric interviews and parent ratings on at least one of three ASD symptom scales: Children’s Communication Checklist, Social Communication Questionnaire, and Social Responsiveness Scale.
Relative to healthy youths, youths with mood or anxiety disorders exhibited higher scores on each ASD symptom scale. ASD symptom scale scores also showed an association with impairment severity and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Among patients with mood disorders but not those with anxiety disorders, consistent, statistically significant associations between diagnosis and ASD symptom scale scores remained even after controlling for potential confounders.
Patients with mood disorders exhibit higher scores on ASD symptom scales than healthy youths or youths with anxiety disorders. These data should alert clinicians to the importance of assessing ASD symptoms to identify social reciprocity and communication deficits as possible treatment targets in pediatric mood and anxiety disorders.
mood disorder; anxiety disorder; autism spectrum; impairment
Prader–Willi syndrome (PWS) is well-known for its genetic and phenotypic complexities. Caused by a lack of paternally derived imprinted material on chromosome 15q11–q13, individuals with PWS have mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, repetitive and compulsive behaviors, skin picking, tantrums, irritability, hyperphagia, and increased risks of obesity. Many individuals also have co-occurring autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), psychosis, and mood disorders. Although the PWS 15q11–q13 region confers risks for autism, relatively few studies have assessed autism symptoms in PWS or directly compared social, behavioral, and cognitive functioning across groups with autism or PWS. This article identifies areas of phenotypic overlap and difference between PWS and ASD in core autism symptoms and in such comorbidities as psychiatric disorders, and dysregulated sleep and eating. Though future studies are needed, PWS provides a promising alternative lens into specific symptoms and comorbidities of autism.
Prader–Willi syndrome; Chromosome 15q11–q13; Autism; Psychosis
Despite early controversy, it is now accepted that a substantial proportion of children with fragile X syndrome (FXS) meets diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This change has led to an increased interest in studying the association of FXS and ASD because of the clinical consequences of their co-occurrence and the implications for a better understanding of ASD in the general population. Here, we review the current knowledge on the behavioral, neurobiological (i.e., neuroimaging), and molecular features of ASD in FXS, as well as the insight into ASD gained from mouse models of FXS. This review covers critical issues such as the selectivity of ASD in disorders associated with intellectual disability, differences between autistic features and ASD diagnosis, and the relationship between ASD and anxiety in FXS patients and animal models. While solid evidence supporting ASD in FXS as a distinctive entity is emerging, neurobiological and molecular data are still scarce. Animal model studies have not been particularly revealing about ASD in FXS either. Nevertheless, recent studies provide intriguing new leads and suggest that a better understanding of the bases of ASD will require the integration of multidisciplinary data from FXS and other genetic disorders.
Fragile X syndrome; Autism spectrum disorder; Intellectual disability; Autistic features; Social anxiety; Social withdrawal
To describe the hospitalisation patterns in children with intellectual disability (ID) and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) after the first year of life and compare with those unaffected.
Prospective cohort study using data linkage between health, ID and hospitalisation population-based datasets.
416 611 individuals born between 1983 and 1999 involving 1 027 962 hospital admission records. Five case categories were defined (mild/moderate ID, severe ID, biomedically caused ID, ASD with ID and ASD without ID) and compared with the remainder of children and young people.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Time to event analysis was used to compare time hospitalisation and rate of hospitalisation between the different case-groups by estimating HR, accounting for birth year and preterm birth status.
ID and/or ASD were found to be associated with an increased risk of hospitalisation compared with the remainder of the population. The increase in risk was highest in those with severe ID and no ASD (HR=10.33, 95% CI 8.66 to 12.31). For those with ID of known biomedical cause or mild ID of unknown cause, the risk of hospitalisation was lower (HR=7.36, 95% CI 6.73 to 8.07 and HR=3.08, 95% CI 2.78 to 3.40, respectively). Those with ASDs had slightly increased risk (HR=2.82, 95% CI 2.26 to 3.50 for those with ID and HR=2.09, 95% CI 1.85 to 2.36 for those without ID).
Children with an ID or ASD experience an increased risk of hospitalisation after the first year of life which varied from 2 to 10 times that of the rest of the population. Findings can inform service planning or resource allocation for these children with special needs.
EPIDEMIOLOGY; PUBLIC HEALTH
To perform an in depth evaluation of children, and thus provide a systematic method of managing children, who after infantile health screening, were categorized as suspected developmental delay.
78 children referred to the Developmental Delay Clinic of Ilsan Hospital after suspected development delay on infantile health examinations were enrolled. A team comprised of a physiatrist, pediatrician and pediatric psychiatrist examined the patients. Neurological examination, speech and cognitive evaluation were done. Hearing tests and chromosome studies were performed when needed clinically. All referred children completed K-ASQ questionnaires. Final diagnoses were categorized into specific language impairment (SLI), global developmental delay (GDD), intellectual disability (ID), cerebral palsy (CP), motor developmental delay (MD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
72 of the 78 patients were abnormal in the final diagnosis, with a positive predictive value of 92.3%. Thirty (38.4%) of the 78 subjects were diagnosed as GDD, 28 (35.8%) as SLI, 5 (6.4%) as ASD, 9 (12.5%) as MD, and 6 (7.6%) as normal. Forty five of the 78 patients had risk factors related to development, and 18 had a positive family history for developmental delay and/or autistic disorders. The mean number of abnormal domains on the K-ASQ questionnaires were 3.6 for ASD, 2.7 for GDD, 1.8 for SLI and 0.6 for MD. Differences between these numbers were statistically significant (p<0.05).
Because of the high predictive value of the K-ASQ, a detailed evaluation is necessary for children suspected of developmental delay in an infantile health promotion system.
Developmental disorder; Screening test; K-ASQ
Use electronic health records Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to assess the comorbidity burden of ASD in children and young adults.
A retrospective prevalence study was performed using a distributed query system across three general hospitals and one pediatric hospital. Over 14,000 individuals under age 35 with ASD were characterized by their co-morbidities and conversely, the prevalence of ASD within these comorbidities was measured. The comorbidity prevalence of the younger (Age<18 years) and older (Age 18–34 years) individuals with ASD was compared.
19.44% of ASD patients had epilepsy as compared to 2.19% in the overall hospital population (95% confidence interval for difference in percentages 13.58–14.69%), 2.43% of ASD with schizophrenia vs. 0.24% in the hospital population (95% CI 1.89–2.39%), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) 0.83% vs. 0.54% (95% CI 0.13–0.43%), bowel disorders (without IBD) 11.74% vs. 4.5% (95% CI 5.72–6.68%), CNS/cranial anomalies 12.45% vs. 1.19% (95% CI 9.41–10.38%), diabetes mellitus type I (DM1) 0.79% vs. 0.34% (95% CI 0.3–0.6%), muscular dystrophy 0.47% vs 0.05% (95% CI 0.26–0.49%), sleep disorders 1.12% vs. 0.14% (95% CI 0.79–1.14%). Autoimmune disorders (excluding DM1 and IBD) were not significantly different at 0.67% vs. 0.68% (95% CI −0.14-0.13%). Three of the studied comorbidities increased significantly when comparing ages 0–17 vs 18–34 with p<0.001: Schizophrenia (1.43% vs. 8.76%), diabetes mellitus type I (0.67% vs. 2.08%), IBD (0.68% vs. 1.99%) whereas sleeping disorders, bowel disorders (without IBD) and epilepsy did not change significantly.
The comorbidities of ASD encompass disease states that are significantly overrepresented in ASD with respect to even the patient populations of tertiary health centers. This burden of comorbidities goes well beyond those routinely managed in developmental medicine centers and requires broad multidisciplinary management that payors and providers will have to plan for.
Childhood onset psychiatric disorders, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Mood Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders (OCSD), and Schizophrenia (SZ), affect many school age children leading to a lower quality of life, including difficulties in school and personal relationships that persists into adulthood. Currently, the causes of these psychiatric disorders are poorly understood resulting in difficulty diagnosing affected children, and insufficient treatment options. Family and twin studies implicate a genetic contribution for ADHD, ASD, Mood Disorders, OCSD, and SZ. Identification of candidate genes and chromosomal regions associated with a particular disorder provide targets for directed research, and understanding how these genes influence the disease state will provide valuable insights for improving the diagnosis and treatment of children with psychiatric disorders. Animal models are one important approach in the study of human diseases, allowing for the use of a variety of experimental approaches to dissect the contribution of a specific chromosomal or genetic abnormality in human disorders. While it is impossible to model an entire psychiatric disorder in a single animal model, these models can be extremely valuable in dissecting out the specific role of a gene, pathway, neuron subtype, or brain region in a particular abnormal behavior. In this review we discuss existing transgenic mouse models for childhood onset psychiatric disorders. We compare the strength and weakness of various transgenic animal models proposed for each of the common childhood onset psychiatric disorders, and discuss future directions for the study of these disorders using cutting-edge genetic tools.
Part-time hospitalization for persons with psychiatric disorders is underdeveloped, underutilized and often poorly understood, but should be encouraged in view of the unsatisfactory living conditions of patients discharged from hospital who still require care, the reductions in psychiatric impatient populations and numbers of beds, the increasing costs of health services and the current fiscal restraints. Day and night hospitals can provide an alternative to inpatient or outpatient treatment, rehabilitation for the long-term patient or treatment for the patient in transition from inpatient to outpatient status. The day hospital can also provide a diagnostic setting. Such programs help preserve the patient's position in the family and the community, minimize the ill effects of hospitalization, and lower capital and operating costs of the psychiatric services. Awareness by medical and paramedical services of the value of these programs would increase their utilization. Shifting the emphasis of administrative and fiscal policies from inpatient to part-time hospitalization programs is also required.
Aims: To describe the hospitalisation history in the first five years of life for all children born in Western Australia (WA) between 1983 and 1992 and diagnosed with intellectual disability (ID).
Methods: Unit record linkage of the WA Midwives Collection, WA Intellectual Disability Database, and the WA Hospital Morbidity Dataset provided the population database of WA born children with and without ID. Affected children were divided into those co-affected with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and those whose ID had or had no known biomedical cause. Those without a biomedical cause were further subdivided into mild–moderate and severe categories.
Results: On average, ID affected children were more likely than non-affected children to be admitted to hospital (RR: 1.64; 95% CI 1.6 to 1.7), on more occasions (5.3 versus 2.2 admissions), for longer (29.6 versus 8.3 days), and for a larger range of clinical diagnoses. The only exception was the group of children co-diagnosed with ASD whose hospitalisation profile resembled more that of non-affected children.
Conclusions: This total population study is unique because of the availability of the system of linkable population registers and administrative health databases in WA. The results indicated that this vulnerable population of children with ID has substantial medical needs. This paper points to the need for authorities to develop supportive programmes for this population especially in the current climate of de-medicalisation of ID. More research is not only needed on the welfare of the affected children but also on the impact of the substantial medical and other needs of affected children on the rest of their immediate and extended families.
The condition of obesity has become a significant public health problem in the United States. In children and adolescents, the prevalence of overweight has tripled in the last 20 years, with approximately 16.0% of children ages 6–19, and 10.3% of 2–5 year olds being considered overweight. Considerable research is underway to understand obesity in the general pediatric population, however little research is available on the prevalence of obesity in children with developmental disorders. The purpose of our study was to determine the prevalence of overweight among a clinical population of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Retrospective chart review of 140 charts of children ages 3–18 years seen between 1992 and 2003 at a tertiary care clinic that specializes in the evaluation and treatment of children with developmental, behavioral, and cognitive disorders. Diagnostic, medical, and demographic information was extracted from the charts. Primary diagnoses of either ADHD or ASD were recorded, as was information on race/ethnicity, age, gender, height, and weight. Information was also collected on medications that the child was taking. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated from measures of height and weight recorded in the child's chart. The Center for Disease Control's BMI growth reference was used to determine an age- and gender-specific BMI z-score for the children.
The prevalence of at-risk-for-overweight (BMI >85th%ile) and overweight (BMI > 95th%ile) was 29% and 17.3% respectively in children with ADHD. Although the prevalence appeared highest in the 2–5 year old group (42.9%ile), differences among age groups were not statistically significant. Prevalence did not differ between boys and girls or across age groups (all p > 0.05). For children with ASD, the overall prevalence of at-risk-for-overweight was 35.7% and prevalence of overweight was 19%.
When compared to an age-matched reference population (NHANES 1999–2002), our estimates indicate that children with ADHD and with ASD have a prevalence of overweight that is similar to children in the general population.
It is well-known that the prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is higher in epileptic children than in the general pediatric population. The aim of this study was to compare the accompaniment of ADHD in epileptic children with well-controlled seizures and no significant intellectual disability with that in healthy controls. We included epileptic children between the ages of 6 and 12 yr visiting our clinic for six consecutive months and controls without significant medical or psychiatric illnesses. We excluded patients with intellectual disability or persistent seizures during the recent three months. The diagnosis of ADHD was based on the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV). After exclusion of 84 patients, we enrolled 102 (54.8%) children (mean age, 9.4 ± 2.0 yr). Seven (7 of 102, 6.9%) were diagnosed with ADHD. As compared to control group (4 of 110, 3.6%), there was no difference in ADHD accompaniment (P = 0.29). No difference was observed in ADHD accompaniment according to seizure type and epilepsy syndrome. In conclusion, the accompaniment of ADHD in epileptic children with well-controlled seizures and no intellectual disability may not differ from that of the general pediatric population.
Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity; Epilepsy; Intellectual Disability
During the last decade in Ontario large numbers of patients with chronic psychiatric disorders have been discharged from the mental hospitals and are now scattered throughout other psychiatric facilities. The Homes for Special Care Program offers privately run but government-funded accommodation for severely disabled patients with relatively stable and socially acceptable behaviour, who require residential or nursing care but are thought unlikely to benefit from further hospital treatment. Salient features of the program include the formal discharge of patients from hospital and their legal reinstatement as "persons", the cessation of active psychiatric treatment, and the provision of ongoing care and supervision by largely untrained personnel. Medical care is provided by general practitioners and the program looks to volunteer agencies to provide recreational and other activities for residents.
During adolescence, some individuals with autism engage in severe disruptive behaviors, such as violence, agitation, tantrums, or self-injurious behaviors. We aimed to assess risk factors associated with very acute states and regression in adolescents with autism in an inpatient population.
Between 2001 and 2005, we reviewed the charts of all adolescents with autism (N=29, mean age=14.8 years, 79% male) hospitalized for severe disruptive behaviors in a psychiatric intensive care unit. We systematically collected data describing socio-demographic characteristics, clinical variables (severity, presence of language, cognitive level), associated organic conditions, etiologic diagnosis of the episode, and treatments.
All patients exhibited severe autistic symptoms and intellectual disability, and two-thirds had no functional verbal language. Fifteen subjects exhibited epilepsy, including three cases in which epilepsy was unknown before the acute episode. For six (21%) of the subjects, uncontrolled seizures were considered the main cause of the disruptive behaviors. Other suspected risk factors associated with disruptive behavior disorders included adjustment disorder (N=7), lack of adequate therapeutic or educational management (N=6), depression (N=2), catatonia (N=2), and painful comorbid organic conditions (N=3).
Disruptive behaviors among adolescents with autism may stem from diverse risk factors, including environmental problems, comorbid acute psychiatric conditions, or somatic diseases such as epilepsy. The management of these behavioral changes requires a multidisciplinary functional approach.
autism; adolescence; acute behavioral state; regression; intellectual disability; autisme; adolescence; trouble sévère du comportement; régression; déficience intellectuelle
A study made by a special committee appointed for the purpose by the Northern California Psychiatric Society found that a real need exists for local psychiatric services in general hospitals of the Northern California area. Such services can be provided readily—and in some communities are already available. A broad segment of the population looks to the general hospital to provide diagnosis and care and so enable the patient's prompt recovery from psychiatric disorders. The study further emphasizes the importance of such factors as a competent psychiatric chief, adequate staff and personnel and good planning in organizing inpatient and outpatient facilities and integrating treatment so that all the functions of the hospital are available to psychiatric patients. Granted these special considerations, the services can be provided more easily than many physicians, including some psychiatrists and administrators, suppose.
Research findings investigating the sociodemographics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have been inconsistent and rarely considered the presence of intellectual disability (ID).
We used population data on Western Australian singletons born from 1984 to 1999 (n = 398,353) to examine the sociodemographic characteristics of children diagnosed with ASD with or without ID, or ID without ASD compared with non-affected children.
The profiles for the four categories examined, mild-moderate ID, severe ID, ASD without ID and ASD with ID varied considerably and we often identified a gradient effect where the risk factors for mild-moderate ID and ASD without ID were at opposite extremes while those for ASD with ID were intermediary. This was demonstrated clearly with increased odds of ASD without ID amongst older mothers aged 35 years and over (odds ratio (OR) = 1.69 [CI: 1.18, 2.43]), first born infants (OR = 2.78; [CI: 1.67, 4.54]), male infants (OR = 6.57 [CI: 4.87, 8.87]) and increasing socioeconomic advantage. In contrast, mild-moderate ID was associated with younger mothers aged less than 20 years (OR = 1.88 [CI: 1.57, 2.25]), paternal age greater than 40 years (OR = 1.59 [CI: 1.36, 1.86]), Australian-born and Aboriginal mothers (OR = 1.60 [CI: 1.41, 1.82]), increasing birth order and increasing social disadvantage (OR = 2.56 [CI: 2.27, 2.97]). Mothers of infants residing in regional or remote areas had consistently lower risk of ASD or ID and may be linked to reduced access to services or under-ascertainment rather than a protective effect of location.
The different risk profiles observed between groups may be related to aetiological differences or ascertainment factors or both. Untangling these pathways is challenging but an urgent public health priority in view of the supposed autism epidemic.
We used a national online registry to examine variation in cumulative prevalence of community diagnosis of psychiatric comorbidity in 4343 children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Adjusted multivariate logistic regression models compared influence of individual, family, and geographic factors on cumulative prevalence of parent-reported anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or attention deficit disorder. Adjusted odds of community-assigned lifetime psychiatric comorbidity were significantly higher with each additional year of life, with increasing autism severity, and with Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder—not otherwise specified compared with autistic disorder. Overall, in this largest study of parent-reported community diagnoses of psychiatric comorbidity, gender, autistic regression, autism severity, and type of ASD all emerged as significant factors correlating with cumulative prevalence. These findings could suggest both underlying trends in actual comorbidity as well as variation in community interpretation and application of comorbid diagnoses in ASD.
Genetic mutations of SHANK3 have been reported in patients with intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia. At the synapse, Shank3/ProSAP2 is a scaffolding protein that connects glutamate receptors to the actin cytoskeleton via a chain of intermediary elements. Although genetic studies have repeatedly confirmed the association of SHANK3 mutations with susceptibility to psychiatric disorders, very little is known about the neuronal consequences of these mutations. Here, we report the functional effects of two de novo mutations (STOP and Q321R) and two inherited variations (R12C and R300C) identified in patients with ASD. We show that Shank3 is located at the tip of actin filaments and enhances its polymerization. Shank3 also participates in growth cone motility in developing neurons. The truncating mutation (STOP) strongly affects the development and morphology of dendritic spines, reduces synaptic transmission in mature neurons and also inhibits the effect of Shank3 on growth cone motility. The de novo mutation in the ankyrin domain (Q321R) modifies the roles of Shank3 in spine induction and morphology, and actin accumulation in spines and affects growth cone motility. Finally, the two inherited mutations (R12C and R300C) have intermediate effects on spine density and synaptic transmission. Therefore, although inherited by healthy parents, the functional effects of these mutations strongly suggest that they could represent risk factors for ASD. Altogether, these data provide new insights into the synaptic alterations caused by SHANK3 mutations in humans and provide a robust cellular readout for the development of knowledge-based therapies.
actin; autism; axonal outgrowth; hippocampus; Shank3; spine
OBJECTIVE--To identify physical disorders associated with increased rate of use of psychiatric services. DESIGN--Retrospective analysis of routine abstracts of general hospital inpatient records linked with those of psychiatric care, for inpatients with physical disorders with possible psychiatric associations and for controls. SETTING--Oxfordshire health district. SUBJECTS--Inpatients aged 15-64 years discharged from general hospitals during 1975-85 with a diagnosis among 14 selected diagnostic groups (including potentially life threatening conditions, chronic disabling diseases, and non-specific symptomatic conditions) and control inpatients with acute conditions. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Observed and expected numbers of patients receiving psychiatric care. RESULTS--Observed use of psychiatric services before and after index admission was close to that expected for controls. For most other diagnoses the observed use was significantly increased in the year preceding and that subsequent to the admission. For four diagnostic groups it was significantly greater in the year after admission than in that before (acute myocardial infarction (ratio before to after 2.17, 95% confidence interval 1.5 to 3.3), cancer (2.05, 1.7 to 2.5), diabetes mellitus (1.89, 1.4 to 2.9), and chest pain (1.78, 1.3 to 2.4)). During four years after the admission the use of psychiatric services was significantly higher than in the general population for nonspecific symptomatic conditions (observed/expected: abdominal pain 1.7, chest pain 2.0, and headache 4.2), cirrhosis of the liver (10.4), and fractures in road accidents and other fractures (1.3, 1.6). CONCLUSIONS--More patients with certain physical conditions used psychiatric services. Alternative methods of service delivery may be needed, especially for disabling chronic physical illness, alcohol related disorders, and non-specific symptomatic conditions.
To study trends in health care expenditures associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in state Medicaid programs.
Using Medicaid data from 42 states from 2000–2003, patients aged 17 years and under who were continuously enrolled in fee-for-service Medicaid were studied. Patients with claims related to autistic disorder (autism) were identified, as were patients with claims for any ASD other than autism. Total expenditures per treated patient consisted of Medicaid reimbursements from inpatient, outpatient, and long-term care and prescription drugs. Inflation-adjusted expenditures were compared over time and with expenditures associated with other mental health disorders.
A total of 2,184,677 children were diagnosed with some type of mental disorder during the study period. Of these children, 69,542 had an ASD, with 49,921 having autism and the rest having another ASD. Mean total health care expenditures per child with ASD were $22,079 in 2000 (in 2003 US dollars), and rose by 3.1% to $22,772 in 2003. The treated prevalence of autism per 10,000 covered lives rose by 32.2 % from 40.6 to 53.6, the highest rate of increase among all mental disorders. Total health care expenditures for ASDs per 10,000 covered lives grew by 32.8% from $1,270,435 in 2000 (in 2003 dollars) to $1,686,938 in 2003.
Medicaid-reimbursed health care expenditures for ASD were quite substantial. Although the per patient expenditures grew slightly over time, the large increase in treated prevalence caused a considerable rise in total ASD-associated health care expenditures.
Health Care Expenditures; Autism; Autism Spectrum Disorder; Medicaid; Child Mental Health
Diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is often delayed in high-functioning children with milder and more varied forms of ASD. The substantial overlap between ASD and other psychiatric disorders is thought to contribute to this delay. This study examined the endorsement of DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for ASD based on semi-structured parent interviews across three groups of older children referred to an ASD clinic: 55 children diagnosed with high-functioning ASD, 27 children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and 23 children diagnosed with anxiety disorder. Results indicate that the criteria within the domains of communication and social relatedness were largely able to discriminate the high-functioning ASD group from the ADHD and anxiety disorder groups, but criteria within the domain of restricted/repetitive/stereotyped patterns were not.
ADHD; anxiety disorder; autism; diagnostic differentiation
To review both the functions and dysfunction of the executive system (ES) focusing on the extent of executive function (EF) deficits in most psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents and the possibility of such deficits acting as markers for pharmacological management.
A literature review was conducted using MEDLINE, Psychinfo, CINAHL, PsychArticles and PubMed with the following keywords: executive function or dysfunction, pediatric or children or adolescents, psychopharmacology, psychotropic medications, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Due to the limited amount of specific information obtained for some childhood disorders, the search was broadened to include relevant adult literature where information was extrapolated.
Abundant literature was found on the nature of the ES and the executive dysfunctions in most psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents, but not so much on the use of medication. EF deficits were found to be more consistent in disorders such as ADHD, ASD and FASD than in the other disorders but were not specific enough for use as clinical markers for those disorders. For children with ADHD and ASD there was adequate information on the use of psychotropic medications and impact on some EF domains but information on the impact of medication on EF in the other disorders in children and adolescents was fairly limited. Medications acting on the dopaminergic system also showed positive effects on EF deficits and are commonly used in the treatment of EF disorders such as ADHD, ASD and FASD.
Existing literature indicates that EF deficits underlie most psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents. However, there are so many executive functions linked to so many activities and circuits in the brain that it is hard to quantify them in a particular disorder for use as specific markers for that disorder. The ES uses dopamine as its main neurotransmitter and this has implications for clinical management. Dopamine agonists (e.g. stimulants) and antagonists (e.g. neuroleptics) are medications that have direct impact on the ES and are commonly used to treat EF disorders in children and adolescents while serotonergic medications e.g. selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have not been very successful in treating such disorders. Identifying EF deficits early could be useful in guiding management including the use of medication in those disorders.
executive; function; deficits; children; adolescents; pharmacology
Adolescents with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are at high risk for developing psychiatric symptoms, with anxiety disorders among the most commonly cooccurring. Cognitive behavior therapies (CBTs) are considered the best practice for treating anxiety in the general population. Modified CBT approaches for youth with high-functioning ASD and anxiety have resulted in significant reductions in anxiety following intervention. The purpose of the present study was to develop an intervention for treating anxiety in adolescents with ASD based on a CBT program designed for school-aged children. The Facing Your Fears-Adolescent Version (FYF-A) program was developed; feasibility and acceptability data were obtained, along with initial efficacy of the intervention. Twenty-four adolescents, aged 13–18, completed the FYF-A intervention. Results indicated significant reductions in anxiety severity and interference posttreatment, with low rates of anxiety maintained at 3-month follow-up. In addition, nearly 46% of teen participants met criteria for a positive treatment response on primary diagnosis following the intervention. Initial findings from the current study are encouraging and suggest that modified group CBT for adolescents with high-functioning ASD may be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms. Limitations include small sample size and lack of control group. Future directions are discussed.