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.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be difficult to distinguish from other psychiatric disorders. The clinical assessment of ASD is lengthy, and has to be performed by a specialized clinician. Therefore, a screening instrument to aid in the identification of patients who may have undiagnosed ASD should be useful. The purpose of this study was to develop such a screening instrument.
Based on the 80 item Ritvo Autism and Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised (RAADS-R), we developed a 14 item self-evaluation questionnaire, the RAADS-14 Screen. In total, 135 adults with ASD and 508 psychiatric controls completed the abridged version of the RAADS-R.
The RAADS-14 Screen score was significantly higher in the ASD group than in the control samples, with a median score of 32 for ASD, 15 for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and 11 for other psychiatric disorders (P < 0.001). A cut-off score of 14 or above reached a sensitivity of 97% and a specificity of 46 to 64%. A factor analysis identified three factors consistent with mentalizing deficits, social anxiety, and sensory reactivity relevant for the diagnosis of ASD. The psychometric properties of RAADS-14 Screen were shown to be satisfactory.
The results of this study indicate that RAADS-14 Screen is a promising measure in screening for ASD in adult psychiatric outpatients.
Autistic disorder; Asperger syndrome; Adult; Screening; Self-assessment; Rating scale
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Cost-effectiveness analysis of pharmaceutical and other treatments for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has the potential to improve access to services by demonstrating the value of treatment to public and private payers, but methods for measuring quality adjusted life years (QALYs) in children are understudied. No cost-effectiveness analyses have been undertaken in this population using the cost per QALY metric.
This study describes health-related quality of life (HRQoL) outcomes in children with ASDs and compares the sensitivity of two generic preference-based instruments relative to ASD-related conditions and symptoms.
The study design was cross-sectional with prospectively collected outcome data that was correlated with retrospectively assessed clinical information. Subjects were recruited from two sites of the Autism Treatment Network (ATN): a developmental center in Little Rock, Arkansas, and an outpatient psychiatric clinic at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, NY. Children that met DSM-IV criteria for an ASD by a multi-disciplinary team evaluation were asked to participate in a clinical registry. Families of children with an ASD that agreed to be contacted about participation in future research studies as part of the ATN formed the sampling frame for the study. Families were included if the child with the ASD was between 4 and 17 years of age and the family caregiver spoke English. Eligible families were contacted by mail to see if they would be interested in participating in the study with N=150 completing surveys. HRQoL outcomes were described using the Health Utilities Index Mark III (HUI-3) and the self-administered Quality of Well-Being scale (QWB-SA) obtained by proxy via the family caregiver.
Children were diagnosed as having autistic disorder (76%), pervasive developmental disorder (PDD-NOS) (15%), and Asperger's disorder (9%). Average HUI-3 and QWB-SA scores were 0.68 (SD=0.21, range of 0.07 to 1) and 0.59 (SD=0.16, range of 0.18 to 1) respectively. The HUI-3 score was significantly correlated with clinical variables including adaptive behavior (ρ=0.52; p<0.001) and cognitive functioning (ρ=0.36; p<0.001). The QWB-SA score had weak correlation with adaptive behavior (ρ=0.25; p<0.001) and cognitive functioning (ρ=0.17; p<0.005). Change scores for the HUI3 were larger than the QWB-SA for all clinical measures. Scores for the HUI3 increased 0.21 (95% CI: 0.14–0.29) points across the first to third quartile of the cognitive functioning measure compared to 0.05 (95% CI: −0.01–0.11) for the QWB-SA. Adjusted R2's also were higher for the HUI3 compared to the QWB-SA across all clinical measures.
The HUI-3 was more sensitive to clinical measures used to characterize children with autism compared to the QWB-SA score. The findings provide a benchmark to compare scores obtained by alternative methods and instruments. Researchers should consider incorporating the HUI-3 in clinical trials and other longitudinal research studies to build the evidence base for describing the cost-effectiveness of services provided to this important population.
Varied presentations of emotion dysregulation in autism complicate diagnostic decision making and may lead to inaccurate psychiatric diagnoses or delayed autism diagnosis for high-functioning children. This pilot study aimed to determine the concordance between prior psychiatric diagnoses and the results of an autism-specific psychiatric interview in adolescents with high-functioning autism.
Participants included 35, predominantly Caucasian and male, verbal 10 – 17 year olds with a confirmed autism spectrum disorder and without intellectual disability. The average age of autism spectrum diagnosis was 11-years-old. Lifetime psychiatric diagnoses were established via the Autism Comorbidity Interview, developed to identify co-morbid conditions within the context of autism. Autism Comorbidity Interview results were compared to parent report of prior community psychiatric diagnoses.
Approximately 60% of prior psychiatric diagnoses were not supported on the Autism Comorbidity Interview; the lowest diagnostic concordance was for prior bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder diagnoses. While 51% of children met Autism Comorbidity Interview criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder, rates of prior diagnoses were much higher, with 77% having at least one prior psychiatric diagnosis and 60% having two or more.
Although many participants met criteria for comorbid psychiatric disorders, the majority of previous psychiatric diagnoses were not supported when autism-related manifestations were systematically taken into account. These findings require replication and may not generalize to lower-functioning and earlier diagnosed children with ASD. Results emphasize the importance of increasing awareness of the manifestations of high-functioning autism in order to improve accuracy of diagnosis and appropriateness of interventions.
Autism; Asperger’s Disorder; Psychiatric Comorbidity; Diagnosis
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
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
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.
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
Recent reports suggest that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may experience depression at a high frequency, yet few published studies address this issue, especially among adults. In the current investigation, we reviewed features of depression and comorbid traits among depressed inpatients with intellectual disabilities (ID) as a function of ASD. A retrospective chart review was performed for 53 inpatients meeting criteria for depression (13 individuals with ASD and ID and 40 matched individuals with ID but without ASD), all of whom had received a diagnosis of depression at the time of discharge from a specialty psychiatric unit for adults with ID. The depression diagnoses were based on a comprehensive clinical assessment; specific mood and anxiety symptoms were reported by informants at the time of intake using the Mood and Anxiety Semi-Structured (MASS) Interview for Patients with Intellectual Disabilities (Charlot, Deutsch, Hunt, Fletcher, & McIlvane, 2007). Overall, few qualitative differences were detected between the 2 groups. Both depressed inpatient groups had high rates of comorbid anxiety disorders as well as externalizing behaviors. Inpatients with ASD had a total of 2 more symptoms (out of 29 possible symptom items) than their depressed peers without an ASD diagnosis (mean scores of 12.23 and 9.85, respectively). Anxiety disorders were reported in 62% of individuals with ASD and 38% of those without ASD. Antipsychotic medication was prevalent among the patients with ASD and depression. Over 80% of the inpatients with ASD and depression, compared with 49% of the non-ASD group, were treated with these medications.
autism; autism spectrum disorders; depression; anxiety; antipsychotic medications; mood disorders
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.
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.
Foster care received by 178 patients with chronic psychiatric disorders discharged from Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital in the years 1966 through 1969 was studied by technique evaluation. Residents were followed for 3 years by means of health records. The achievement of operational objectives of the program (Homes for Special Care) was compared with two types of outcome--emergency readmission to hospital and discharge to the community. Emergency readmission was associated with rural location of the foster home, inferior quality of the home operator and smaller size (i.e., fewer residents) of the home. Discharge to the community was more common among younger, female residents whose previous psychiatric hospitalization had been relatively brief. In general, prescription audit was not a fruitful way of evaluating quality of health care.
Although the DSM-5 has recently created a single category of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), delineation of its putative subtypes remains clinically useful. For this process, screening instruments should ideally be brief, simple, and easily available. The aim of this study is to describe the validity of one such instrument. We administered the Michigan Autism Spectrum Questionnaire (MASQ), a 10-item questionnaire, to 42 patients with ASD (age range 6–13 years, mean 9.7 years, SD 2.5, one female) and 18 patients with other psychiatric disorders (age range 6–17 years, mean 11.7 years, SD 3.8, 6 females). Responses to each item were scored from 0 to 4 yielding a total score of 30. Patients with intellectual disability were excluded. As a group, patients with ASD scored higher than those with other psychiatric disorders (Chi-square test with 1 df = 16.019, P < 0.0001). Within the ASD group, a linear discriminant analysis found that the best cut-off points were 22 or above for Asperger syndrome, 14 to 21 for autism/PDDNOS, and less than 14 for those with other psychiatric disorders. We propose that the MASQ can be used as a brief measure to screen high-functioning ASD from other psychiatric disorders and to identify its possible subtypes.
The aims of the current study were to examine whether early growth abnormalities are (a) comparable in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other childhood psychiatric disorders, and (b) specific to the brain or generalized to the whole body. Head circumference, height, and weight were measured during the first 19 months of life in 129 children with ASD and 59 children with non-ASD psychiatric disorders. Both groups showed comparable abnormal patterns of growth compared to population norms, especially regarding height and head circumference in relation to height. Thus abnormal growth appears to be related to psychiatric disorders in general and is mainly expressed as an accelerated growth of height not matched by an increase in weight or head circumference.
Autism; Growth; Head circumference; Height; Weight; Endophenotype
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.
OBJECTIVE: To examine differences between the general medical and mental health specialty sectors in the expenditure and treatment patterns of aged and disabled Medicare beneficiaries with a physician diagnosis of psychiatric disorder. DATA SOURCES: Based on 1991-1993 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey data, linked to the beneficiary's claims and area-level data on provider supply from the Area Resources File and the American Psychological Association. STUDY DESIGN: Outcomes examined included the number of psychiatric services received, psychiatric and total Medicare expenditures, the type of services received, whether or not the patient was hospitalized for a psychiatric disorder, the length of the psychiatric care episode, the intensity of service use, and satisfaction with care. We compared these outcomes for beneficiaries who did and did not receive mental health specialty services during the episode, using multiple regression analyses to adjust for observable population differences. We also performed sensitivity analyses using instrumental variables techniques to reduce the potential bias arising from unmeasured differences in patient case mix across sectors. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Relative to beneficiaries treated only in the general medical sector, those seen by a mental health specialist had longer episodes of care, were more likely to receive services specific to psychiatry, and had greater psychiatric and total expenditures. Among the elderly persons, the higher costs were due to a combination of longer episodes and greater intensity; among the persons who were disabled, they were due primarily to longer episodes. Some evidence was also found of higher satisfaction with care among the disabled individuals treated in the specialty sector. However, evidence of differences in psychiatric hospitalization rates was weaker. CONCLUSIONS: Mental health care provided to Medicare beneficiaries in the general medical sector does not appear to substitute perfectly for care provided in the specialty sector. Our study suggests that the treatment patterns in the specialty sector may be preferred by some patients; further, earlier findings indicate geographic barriers to obtaining specialty care. Thus, the matching of service use to clinical need among this vulnerable population may be inappropriate. The need for further research on outcomes is indicated.
In the last decade (2001–2010) the Ministry of Health implemented two major inter-related reforms: a ’structural reform’ to reduce the number of psychiatric beds and the ’Rehabilitation of the Mentally Disabled in the Community Law’, which allocated funds for a variety of residential and vocational programs in the community for these patients. The objective of the present paper was to examine the impact of the two reforms on the hospitalization of schizophrenic and affective disorder patients by tracking the patterns of their inpatient care during the last decade.
Data on all psychiatric admissions during the period 1990–2011 were extracted from the Israel Psychiatric Case Register to examine changes in the rate of admissions, length of hospitalizations, total inpatient days and tenure in the community. The analysis was done separately for first-in-life vs. all admissions and for patients with schizophrenia vs. patients with affective disorders.
From 2006 onward, with no decrease in the number the beds, the number of inpatient days for first-in-life patients with schizophrenia decreased by 29%, their admission rates dropped by 22%, the proportion of short [< 30 days] first in life episodes went up, while the percentage of those whose first in life episode lasted more than one year went down from 2.5% to 0.5%. The parallel results for patients with affective disorders were much less significant.
An increasing percentage of patients with schizophrenia are not admitted to psychiatric wards at all and an increasing percentage of those who are admitted are treated during a shorter episode. The change is probably due to the rehabilitation reform which enabled the structural reform (the reduction in beds) to be implemented effectively.
Psychiatric hospitalization; Length of stay; Psychiatric reforms
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.